Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $80,000)
Madison County, Tennessee has a diverse population of 97,984. Madison County Sheriff John Mehr has made improvement of police-community relations a top priority, of which Body-Worn Camera (BWC) initiative is a key component. There is a broad-based community support for this initiative. The County has already taken significant steps to plan for BWC program, including extensive research on equipment, data management, policies, and community involvement.
The Madison County Sheriff’s Offices (MCSO) goals are:
Deploy BWCs to deputies who regularly interact with the public in enforcement capacities.
Improve high quality public service expected of MCSO Deputies, promote the perceived legitimacy, sense of fairness, and procedural justice.
Improve management of Digital Multimedia Evidence (DME), to ensure identification, retention, accessibility of DME that is relevant to MCSO arrests and investigations, and the conduct of MCSO Deputies.
Incorporate the BWC program into MCSO’s policy and training development process.
Develop and implement strong policies to ensure proper and credible use of BWCs.
Establish a long-term BWC program that remains technologically current and financially sustainable.
MCSO is utilizing a phased-in approach that has proven successful in implementing several major MCSO projects and initiatives.
MCSO will effectively utilize partnerships to ensure success. This includes critical departments within the Sheriff’s Office representing information technology, budget, and law. It also includes external partnerships with the District Attorneys’ Office, Public Defender, and Department of Community Corrections. Most significantly, it includes a strong partnership with the community.
The deliverable for MCSO’s BWC program include:
Deployment of BWCs to MCSO Deputies.
A current and reliable digital technology infrastructure.
A strong policy and an ongoing training program for BWC use.
An intensive and independent program evaluation.
A broad communications program to solicit the public input on use BWCs and solicit ongoing community input.
Successful implementation of the BWC program will result in an excellent program that can be emulated by other jurisdictions. It will also produce positive outcomes for Madison County Sheriff’s Office, including the project goals noted above. Moreover, MCSO’s responsiveness to the community in making this program a reality will enhance our improving police-community partnership as we move forward.