New body cameras at county jail

Sheriff Scott Walton and Deputy Phillip Evans show off the new body camera jail personnel will wear strapped to their chest.

The Rogers County Sheriff’s Office recently purchased seven body cameras to be utilized by staff in the jail.

The high-tech Si500 Motorola body cameras are equipped with a touch screen that allows deputies to tag incidents in real time upload all their footage wirelessly at the end of their shift.

The outward facing display on the cameras show the images being recorded in real time, meaning anyone facing the deputy can see their face reflected back at them.

The cameras were paid for with a Justice Assistance Grant.

“We’re hoping this deters inmate incidents and inmate violence,” Undersheriff Jon Sappington said.

“We’re getting to the point in our culture where people expect everything to be recorded,” Sappington said. “Our jail does have cameras recording, but they are not everywhere and they are not the greatest quality. In trying to keep up with that expectation, we are demoing this out.”

Sheriff Scott Walton was optimistic that having the cameras would help exonerate the agency against complaints of excessive use of force.

While the cameras are being deployed, the department is busy writing policies and ensuring that the Internet infrastructure is in place to store thousands of hours worth of footage.

Videos will be stored for 90 days. Videos with incidents of violence or that have the potential for future litigation will be stored longer.

Equipping jail employees with body cameras is the first step in equipping the entire department.

“This is a great opportunity for us to look at potential problems and solutions when it comes to patrol,” Sappington said. “Is it feasible to deploy five or 10 cameras and keep up with all of the data?”

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