The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department will soon become the latest law enforcement agency to wear body cameras after the County Board of Supervisors approved a contract with a camera manufacturer.
The Board of supervisors approved the contract during a meeting on Tuesday.
The Sheriff’s Department will complete the next steps of the process and begin distributing the cameras to its deputies in the field.
In 2018, the Sheriff’s Department participated in a pilot program to equip some deputies with body cameras. Officials said the program received positive feedback from deputies and the community, but added that there were some technological issues involving the wide range of the Department’s service area.
“In the time since the pilot program, the Sheriff’s Department has had the opportunity to identify these issues and ensure they were addressed in the request for proposal process,” the Sheriff’s Department stated in a news release.
The cameras will be provided by Axon, a camera supplier and manufacturer that specializes in law enforcement equipment, including body-worn cameras and non-lethal weapons.
The Sheriff’s Department did not have an immediate timeline for when the cameras will be deployed, but said it hopes to have the cameras on deputies soon, stressing that it’s very much dependent on the supply chain and support timeline of Axon.
Once deputies in the field receive cameras, the Sheriff’s Department will then equip corrections officers with cameras as they become available.
“We appreciate the support of the Board of Supervisors and their partnership to ensure deputies have the best possible tools available to them,” the Sheriff’s Department said. “Body worn camera technology is an invaluable tool and one the Sheriff’s Department has sought to implement for several years.”
San Bernardino County is the latest agency in Southern California to deploy body worn cameras for its deputies in the field. Los Angeles County began equipping deputies in 2020, while Riverside County Sheriff’s deputies have used the technology since 2016.
Grant Ward, a sergeant in the Sheriff’s Department and the president of the union that represents its deputies, told the Press-Enterprise that the cameras will provide a benefit to deputies and the public. He added that he was confident that the “overwhelming majority of camera footage” would show that deputies took appropriate action in the line of duty.