Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $413,000)
Never in the history of law enforcement has the American public so vehemently demanded police adopt a technology that allows the public to view actual interactions between law enforcement and the public, such as body-worn cameras. Citizens see body-worn cameras as ensuring greater visibility into law enforcement, especially when it involves use of force incidents. The Kings County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) currently does not have a body-worn camera program but did create and adopt a body-worn camera policy back in December 2021. The project that KCSO is proposing involves the purchase of 60-70 body-worn cameras, correlating accessories, licenses and extended warranties for cameras to outfit all of their sworn patrol deputies. Deputies will receive training on usage, maintenance and the safekeeping of cameras and video footage. The cameras will be utilized by sworn deputies within their jurisdictional areas of Kings County, California. The body-worn cameras will benefit the citizens and visitors of Kings County as well as the Sheriff’s Office deputies and command staff. Launching a body-worn camera program offers significant advantages in keeping deputies safe, enabling situational awareness, and providing evidence for trials. Body-worn cameras are intended to protect everyone involved in an interaction with law enforcement by providing evidence to all sides of the story. The project would increase accountability at the Sheriff’s Office but will also offer a more balanced view of what deputies have to deal with day to day within Kings County. Expected outcomes of the project would be a reduction in citizen complaints, reduced instances of resistance and use of force, and improvement in community interaction with an overall enrichment of public safety.