SHERIDAN — Law enforcement body cameras will soon become part of the required uniform for the Sheridan Police Department. SPD received seven total proposals for body camera equipment and software from all over the country.
SPD received approval for the Department of Justice Body Worn Camera Grant in September, giving the department $36,217 with matching funds from the city of Sheridan for $36,269 to total $72,486.
Lt. Tom Ringley said the department created a scoring matrix, taking the industry standards and comparing each proposal to the matrix.
Stakeholders, comprised of SPD officials, prosecutors and other individuals, are in the process of writing the body camera policy. The policy must then receive approval from the U.S. Department of Justice before implementation at the city level. DOJ officials score the policy based on compliance regulations identified through the grant. Chief Rich Adriaens also said following DOJ approval, the department will seek input from a community focus group.
Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead signed an act into law in 2017 establishing additional guidelines for public access to peace officer recordings. The act gives control to the custodian of the video, or the law enforcement entity in control of the video footage.
The custodian may allow the right for the public to access the video footage when requested and also holds the right to redact information as necessary for confidentiality purposes.
Allowing the public to view dash camera footage presents one aspect, but with body cameras, footage now enters indoor settings, which hold more personal boundaries and privacy expectations.
The Wyoming Association of Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police requested SPD keep footage records for up to five years, but Adriaens continues to look at requirements, as record space remains limited and a large expense for the department.
Axon Enterprises, Inc. out of Scottsdale, Arizona, provides one of the least expensive options at $76,928.09 for the five-year implementation. The company’s cover letter indicates the software implemented remains cloud-compliant for easy storage and allows the functionality needed to interact with the footage, including viewing, copying, flagging, redacting and downloading content.
The most expensive of the seven proposals comes in at $171,325 from Federal Signal out of University Park, Illinois. The company markets its product as “futureproof,” saying in its cover letter that it easily adapts to emerging new technologies. It also allows for efficient and audited editing and sharing remotely.
SPD published a survey Feb. 7 on Facebook asking those taking the survey whether they were excited about the department’s purchase of body cameras.
When the group of stakeholders finish reviewing each application, the department will test drive the chosen product and implement the equipment as soon as possible afterward.
Note: The online version of this article reflects the correct association for the Department of Justice as a federal agency, not state agency.