TAYLORSVILLE, Ky — The Spencer County Sheriff’s Office recently bought body-worn cameras that all of its officers now wear, and no taxpayer dollars were used to purchase the equipment.
“What we’re telling our officers is if the blue lights come on, the camera comes on,” said Spencer County Sheriff Scott Herndon.
He said the body-worn cameras will be turned on at every traffic stop to record, but that’s not all.
“Anytime there’s a domestic, some type of investigation, any type of interview, questioning of a subject, it should always be on,” Herndon said. “Anytime you think you can recover evidence of any value with that camera, it should be on.”
The sheriff’s office purchased 10 body-worn cameras and has been using them for about a month. In addition, the company they bought them from, Intrensic, gave the sheriff’s office an extra one for free, which Herndon said will be used as a back-up.
“I say that it doesn’t only protect the officer, it protects the agency, it protects the public. You know, it’s just a good way to be open and transparent,” Herndon said.
It’s transparency that goes both ways.
“Because we spend a lot of time with people saying my officer did this or did that, and then when it comes down to it, it didn’t happen,” Herndon said.
“I want the public, for one, a lot of the drug dealers and the bad guys, (to) know that we’ve got them. You know, I’m not ashamed of ‘em. I want them to know that we’ve got ‘em. And it’s going to curtail the way they treat and handle us, also. So instead of a guy maybe wanting to fight, he goes, ‘Oh man, it’s going to be on camera.’ So maybe (they’ll) be taken into custody without incident,” Herndon said.
The body cameras also provide transparency for the public.
“And if one of my officers does something wrong to the public, I want to be able to prove that, too,” Herndon said. “I’m not out hunting for my officers to do anything wrong. I want my officers to do everything right, and I just think the cameras makes you stop and think, ‘What I said? How I said it? How I treated someone and everything,’ and I think it makes a good officer, and I have very good officers, but I think it just makes it even better officers.”
The cost for the equipment, Herndon said, was about $9,500. Herndon said the money came from the auction of a house that was seized in a drug bust from 2015 before he became sheriff.
“Let the people that do the offenses pay for the equipment, and we’ve been able to buy patrol rifles, pistols, a lot of different equipment that we wouldn’t have been able to buy otherwise,” Herndon said.
Herndon said the footage from the body cameras gets uploaded to iCloud, which costs just over $3,000 per year for storage.
“The officers do not have the ability to eliminate anything that’s on the camera. Once it’s recorded. It’s there, and it’s uploaded to the iCloud and then we can retrieve it anytime,” Herndon said.