Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $129,537)
The Onslow County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) is the chief law enforcement agency for the County of Onslow. OCSO employs 304 members, including 152 full-time deputy sheriffs and 137 full-time detention officers. There are numerous part-time deputies/officers and civilian support staff. Onslow County is 767 square miles and the 12th most populated county in North Carolina, out of 100 counties. Of that population, over 43,000 marines and sailors are stationed at Camp Lejeune, one of the largest military bases in the world. The NC Department of Budget and Management shows that since 2010, the county’s population has grown constantly by 10%.
Currently, OCSO has no body-worn camera (BWC) system in place. Three years ago, OCSO added its first four in-car cameras through a grant for a full-time Driving While Impaired Task Force. It has utilized this program to greatly improve community relations and efficiency in the court system. OCSO is requesting funds through this grant to complete a full-scale implementation of 93 BWCs to issue to sworn deputies within the patrol, traffic, civil process, school resource officer, warrant squad, and airport divisions. This implementation includes 93 cameras, in-car charging/upload stations, unlimited cloud storage, and installation.
OCSO is dedicated to developing a comprehensive BWC program. OCSO is in its final stages of completing a BWC policy and has obtained support from the Onslow County NAACP chapter and the Onslow County District Attorney’s Office. OCSO’s BWC program will help advance the U.S. Department of Justice's priorities by supporting crime victims with improving deputies' reporting accuracy and expediting legal processes. It will also substantially build trust between law enforcement and the community. Studies have shown that there is a direct correlation between BWCs and reduction in uses of force, citizen complaints, officer injuries, and citizen injuries. OCSO believes that a full-scale implementation of BWCs will help improve transparency and accountability within its agency.