SHELBY COUNTY, TN (WMC) - By the end of next year, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office is hoping to have 400 body worn cameras in use on the streets.
Currently, about 40 deputies are wearing them.
The Shelby County Sheriff's Office is rolling out new body worn cameras in two phases.
The first deploys about 300 and should be complete by the end of January. The second, pending approval, deploys about 100 more.
"It's just one of those steps to show transparency to show the community that we're not trying to hide anything,” said SCSO Chief Inspector Wink Downen.
Downen said rolling out new body worn cameras within the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office is about transparency and accountability.
“We’re trying to do our job,” Downen said. “Unfortunately, sometimes we mess up and when we do, we’ll just have to be transparent about it.”
Back in May, the county commission approved the more than $2 million purchase of WatchGuard body worn cameras and in-car video system.
By the end of next year, Downen said the sheriff's office will deploy about 400 body worn cameras.
"Even though we’re about 600 sworn, we only have about 400 officers who would be constantly in contact with the public on the outside of a controlled setting,” Downen said.
Downen said the biggest focus right now is making sure deputies understand the policy that goes along with the cameras.
“The cameras are required to be on at all times,” Downen said. “They only have to be recording whenever they act in their official capacity.”
Downen said the sheriff’s office has been talking about getting body cameras for about five years.
Deputies are currently going through training and they’ll have to pass an exam.
Downen said the next part of the phase could cost another million dollars. He said that still needs to be approved by the county commission.