Nevada County Civil Grand Jury recommends body cameras for sheriff’s office
The Nevada County Civil Grand Jury on Tuesday recommended that the sheriff’s office use body cameras funded in part by the Board of Supervisors.
The report, however, states Sheriff Keith Royal’s office has indicated it doesn’t intend to implement body cameras for its deputies at this time.
The grand jury recommendation, in an 11-page document, states that body cameras have improved interactions between officers and citizens, reduced complaints and led to less time and expense used on investigating complaints against officers.
Supervisor Dan Miller, chairman of the board, said providing the cameras would hinge on their cost. If approved, they likely would remain a year away. The county’s 2016-2017 fiscal year internal budget process is complete and no body cameras are budgeted.
“There’s a whole lot of questions the sheriff would have to provide answers for,” Miller said.
Contacted Tuesday, Royal said he appreciates the grand jury’s recommendation. However, he has concerns about the cost and space needed to store the videos taken by body cameras.
“It’s pretty costly at this point,” Royal said. “That’s number one.”
Royal noted that his department already has cameras in its vehicles.
In its recommendation, the grand jury states it interviewed management of the sheriff’s office. Management said it predicts state law one day would require all law enforcement to have body cameras. However, they don’t intend to buy the devices at this time.
“They have identified a ‘working group’ within the Sheriff’s Office that is discussing the matter,” the report states.
The grand jury’s recommendation cites the police-involved shooting in Ferguson, Mo., and the contradictory eyewitness testimony that followed as a reason for the cameras. It also notes the possibility that less lawsuits would be filed against police because of camera footage.
According to the report, Nevada City and Truckee police have some body cameras. Grass Valley police are examining the possibility of getting them.
Supervisors and the sheriff have until July 25 to reply to the grand jury.
To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4239.
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