CONYERS — The Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office got the go-ahead from commissioners Tuesday morning to equip the department’s patrol deputies with body cameras.
As part of a contract with L3 Mobile Vision Inc., the Sheriff’s Office will purchase 38 new cameras for patrol cars, 29 upgraded in-car cameras and 40 body cameras. The department will receive 67 body cameras free of charge as part of the deal. The total cost of of the purchases — $332,650 — will be covered by the federal seized assets fund and will not come from the county’s general fund.
Sheriff Eric Levett stressed last week that the decision to purchase body cameras has been in the works since 2013 and is not in reaction to recent use-of-force incidents in Ferguson, Mo., and New York City.
Post 1 Commissioner Oz Nesbitt spoke in support of the purchase at Tuesday’s Board of Commissioners meeting. Nesbitt said the acquisition “is a step in the right direction for Rockdale County.”
Nesbitt also praised the Sheriff’s Office for its ongoing efforts supporting “transparency and integrity.”
Post 2 Commissioner Doreen Williams said she had met with Levett and Chief Deputy Scott Freeman last week to gather more information on the camera requisition prior to Tuesday’s vote. Williams said one of her primary concerns was training for deputies, and she felt assured that officers would be properly trained.
Freeman said last week that it will take three to four months to deploy the cameras to the field, which will allow time for officer training.
Freeman also said the department is conducting extensive research to develop a policy addressing use of the body cameras.