ROCHESTER, Minn. - The Olmsted County Sheriff's office said its body cameras, squad car cameras, and mobile access routers, which help deputies communicate with dispatch while in the community, are outdated.
But since getting the body cameras a few years ago, the price for new ones has increased about 500%, according to law enforcement. The squad car and body cameras and MARs are all created by different vendors. To renew the technology with the three vendors would cost about $1.6 million dollars. So, the sheriff's office is looking at other options.
Chief Deputy Terry Waletzki estimates that if the three technologies were all replaced from one, different vendor, the cost would be around a million dollars.
He pitched the purchase to county leaders at the Olmsted County Board of Commissioners meeting on Tuesday.
He told county leaders that while it is a large cost, it saves the county money in the long run.
"Cases don't go to court because of body camera and squad car footage. And they can show that to the defense attorney, to the defense, and they decide not to take it to court because of that defense," Chief Deputy Waletzki said. "And it goes away. It saves us time and money in potential lawsuits, so it's been very viable to us."
If the sheriff's office gets replaced technology, the upgraded body cameras would have new 'triggers' that the current ones don't have. For example, the new cameras would turn on automatically if a deputy pulls out a weapon or falls to the ground.
The new squad car cameras would be high definition and the new MARs would run faster.
"I look at it as we hold the community and the officers accountable for their actions by having the cameras. So, really it's an expectation now that things are recorded when incidents happen," Chief Deputy Waletzki said.
The current contract for the sheriff's office's body cameras expires on December 16, 2019. The department said it needs the new technology to be in place by the first of December to have a smooth transfer in data collection. If the equipment are not rewnewed or replaced, the sheriff's office said they won't have body cameras past December 16, 2019.
The county is expected to make a decision at the September 17th meeting. If the purchase is approved, the money will most likely come from the reserve funds.