The San Patricio County Sheriff's Office is joining a growing number of law enforcement agencies that have been utilizing body cameras for the past few years.
Change is tough in law enforcement, we all know that, but this is a sign of the times. And the San Patricio County Sheriff's Department is now trying to catch up with the times.
The San Patricio County Sheriff's Department received the new body cameras in November and went active on December 1st.
The relationships the San Patricio County Sheriff's Department build are their connection to the community, but this agency has been missing a key component to law enforcement in the 21st century... body cameras.
“We have had a change in administration and change on how things are being done. One of the things we did is try to become more transparent on what goes on with the department and to protect our officers as well,” said San Patricio County Sheriff Oscar Rivera.
The funding for the new body cameras came from the city’s forfeited assets fund.
“We paid about $40,000 for all the cameras combined, and we used drug seizure money to pay for the cameras instead of using taxpayers money,” said Rivera.
Sheriff Oscar Rivera bought 60 body cameras for his deputies and corrections officers.
“Things happen in the jail that we get accused of all the time, especially from inmates. This is a good way to make everybody happy and show exactly what goes on in a jail, especially when you have to move inmates around and booking people in because people behave differently when they are booked in,” said Rivera.
The new body cameras are going to be another advantage for the sheriff's department to help prove what they did, was what they said they did. In other words, reduce agency liability.
“You know juries now-a-days want to see something on video, they want to see more than just an officer's testimony. So the best way to do that is to produce a video of what happened out there and personally see it, and see what we saw,” said Rivera.
In 2016, nearly half of all general-purpose law enforcement agencies in the country had acquired body cameras, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.