Commissioners Approve Body Cams For Midland County Sheriff's Office

Commissioners Approve Body Cams For Midland County Sheriff's Office

Anum Valliani

NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - The Midland County Sheriff's Office is getting some new toys. They're body cameras for the deputies and officials say they're going to do a lot to help keep a watchful eye on the town.

The Midland Police Department originally had the grant for the body cams, but when they turned it down, the Sheriff's Office hopped on the opportunity to scoop up the new technology. Sheriff Gary Painter said he's been looking at getting them for a while.

"I think there are things in the field that officers need that will be of tremendous benefit. This was a super opportunity for us to jump on board and use new technology to not only benefit the citizens, the suspects, but it'll benefit the jurors, it will benefit the grand jurors, officers," he said.

Although he doesn't know exactly how the mini cams work, but he knows their power and he can't be more excited to bring them to his force.

"Some of them are made that will attach to your eyeglasses, there's some that will attach to your lapel, some that will attach to the front. We are looking at one that will last up to a good 12 hours," he described.

The Commissioners Court approved the grant in their meeting on Monday. The cameras will be used as a tool for gathering evidence. But for those concerned that they might be used as hidden cameras, we're told there's no problem there.

"The citizen will know they're being recorded. It'll be visible, there's not any question about it," Painter reassured.

Sheriff Painter believes some officers may be reluctant at first because they may not want to be on cam, but either way, they'll be moving forward. But due to costs, not every deputy will have the devices.

"Currently, the cost this cost is just minimal compared to what we need to properly outfit the officers," he said.

The Sheriff's Office is also looking into getting car cameras, but first they've just have to figure out what to do with all the footage they'll capture with the body cams. Painter said they're struggling with a problem with not only downloading the material but also how to go about storing and retaining it.

"How long do we store the stuff we do not use in court? If it goes to court, of course, you keep it until the end of trial or the end of appeals. And there are some that we're gonna have to keep forever. Those are the kinds of things we did not anticipate that we're going to have to include. That's gonna be an additional cost of trying to get a storage area," he said. 

Sheriff Painter's looking into a few different companies and says it'll be about a month or two before they get the body cams.