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Morton County Sheriff’s Office testing out body cameras

November 25, 2018

MANDAN, N.D. (AP) — The Morton County Sheriff’s Office is determining the pros and cons of body cameras.

Two deputies on each shift, including a K-9 officer, will be equipped with the cameras over the next month, through a pilot program with Motorola, The Bismarck Tribune reported .

The use of body cameras by law enforcement agencies has been increasing nationwide. Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier said he has looked into them before, and the recent Dakota Access pipeline protest further sparked his interest. Video footage of protest activity would have been useful as evidence in court, he said.

Each camera costs $600. There also is a $625 annual subscription fee for data storage. The department has 36 officers.

“We want to see how seamlessly we can incorporate the body cam to work with the radios, and the process of uploading the video and the cost,” Kirchmeier said.

The sheriff said funds for the cameras would come from the department’s budget, which would be scrutinized by the County Commission. He expects that not all cameras would be purchased at once but phased in as the department’s in-vehicle cameras age out.

If the department begins using the cameras, it also will need to establish policies for their use and for record retention, he said.

Some law enforcement agencies in North Dakota have already begun using body cameras, including the Grand Forks County Sheriff’s Office and the Devils Lake Police Department.

“Some people are against them, and some people are for them,” Kirchmeier said. “I guess we don’t know until we get out there and try them for ourselves.”

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com

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