Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $53,940)
The Liberty County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) first deployed body-worn cameras (BWCs) in 2015 and initially assigned them to the Patrol Division. As cameras became more readily available, they were issued to more of the Patrol Division Deputies. Since then, old worn-out cameras have been regularly replaced with newer models. However, this ad hoc approach to the BWC program left much to be desired in terms of reliability, video and audio quality, data storage, and usable digital media evidence. Therefore, as part of a comprehensive renovation of the BWC program, LSCO entered a contract with LensLock to provide newer BWC for Deputies in the Patrol Division. After reviewing several options, the Sheriff’s Office purchased 30 cameras. The Liberty County Sheriff’s Office request funding to purchase an additional 30 LensLock cameras to expand the Office’s existing BWC program
B. This expansion will promote the safety of LCSO law enforcement Deputies and citizens by strengthening the means for evidence capture and by contributing to improved justice outcomes. Since implementation, BWCs have provided Deputies with evidence in domestic violence cases, accident scenes, and consent decrees; helped command staff recognize patterns of Deputy behavior; and decreased the number of complaints filed against Deputies. It is estimated that 90% of conduct complaints brought against Liberty County Deputies are resolved by video.
After careful research, LCSO chose LensLock BWCs not only because they offer automatic video offload, 8 hours of continuous record, one-button record, wide-angle lens, high-quality video, and secure encryption for unauthorized access, but also because they come with unlimited data cloud storage with redaction and video tagging capabilities. A major obstacle associated with the use of Body-Worn Cameras is the ability to use video redactions when used in open records. Prior to this, BWC footage had to be manually offloaded and stored on servers and back-up disks. There was no option to redact footage meaning that some video had to be withheld due to privacy requirements. The LensLock cameras are not shared as they are assigned to one Deputy. When the Deputy places his or her body camera into the docking station, videos are automatically downloaded and based on the serial number of the camera, are sorted by Deputies, and placed in their folder in the cloud.
In the short time since these cameras have been deployed, LCSO has seen significant improvement in quality, reliability, and capability of the cloud data storage system, which has proven to be effective and user friendly in recalling and sharing digital media evidence. If funded, LCSO will be able to continue this positive trend as the cameras will be assigned to watch level supervisors on patrol, alleviating the confusion of storing videos on different systems and streamlining the retrieval of videos for evidence, officer training, and open records requests.
The project will be managed by dividing it into five categories: (1) Planning, (2) Community Engagement, (3) Training, (4) Implementation, and (5) Program Quality Assurance. To assess progress, LCSO will collect and evaluate several data points that link outcomes to performance measures. Results will be communicated monthly to the Sheriff and command staff. Program Quality Assurance measures will be included as a part of the monthly BWC footage report to guide and evaluate the impact of the program on an ongoing basis.