Two New Body Cameras For Wichita County

Two New Body Cameras For Wichita County

The Wichita County Sheriff's office will soon have two new body cameras; they will be the first of its kind for Wichita County. The Sheriff's Department will first sample the body cameras to see how they work, and if they should invest in more of them.

"So it's just a little more evidence if something is going on," said Sheriff Duke. "Again, it's not mandatory. We don't have to do this. I feel like we need to do this. If our officers are involved in something we'll have everything on camera."

The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program funded the cameras, providing the county with $1,590.

As of right now, those new cameras will only be used for foot patrol deputies working courthouse security. They will not be used on deputies on street patrol.

"We're going to put cameras on them, so that way when they go to make an arrest they can turn the cameras on and we'll have some sort of recording," said Sheriff Duke.

There have not been any specific instances where body cameras were needed, according to Sheriff Duke. But he said this will help the county take pro-active measures.

The two new cameras will have to be turned on manually by the deputy to start the recording.

But the length of the recordings and the amount of time they will stay on a server has yet to be determined.

Although many questions still remain, residents think this is a step in the right direction.

"I think every single area where there is law enforcement it's necessary," said Tiro Phalatse, a student at Midwestern State University. "There's a possibility of conflict in any situation regardless of the way you are. So yes, I think it's a good thing to have everywhere."

"I personally wouldn't think it would be a bad idea because I've seen some pretty horrific things," said Justin Rubio.

"I think if it put people safe of mind, like that sort of thing, then it would be worth it," said Sage Thomas. "If it helped the people of Wichita feel better about it, then it would be okay."

Sheriff Duke said he hopes to purchase four more body cameras, once these are tested. Those cameras would be used on the rest of the courthouse security staff.

The county has discussed the possibility of getting body cameras for street patrol deputies, according to Sheriff Duke. But they are just too expensive for the tax payers and county to fund, according to Sheriff Duke.

Brittany Costello, Newschannel 6