Nevada County sheriff wants body cameras in use by new year |

Nevada County sheriff wants body cameras in use by new year

The Nevada County Sheriff’s Office expects to have its deputies using body cameras by next year, an about-face from Sheriff Keith Royal’s original decision to forego the technology.

A $123,000 grant announced Thursday will fund the cameras’ start-up costs. It’ll take about three months to create policy for them, research what cameras they want and put them out to bid. Royal said he’d like them in place by the time he leaves office in January.

“We’re very pleased we got the grant,” Royal said. “It’s going to help us do our jobs better. It’s going to help us with prosecutions.”

Three Animal Control officers have used the cameras over the past few weeks as part of a pilot program.

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It’s unknown how many bodycams the Sheriff’s Office will receive or how many officers will wear them. Those answers will develop over the next few months, the sheriff said.

“We also want to expand this for use in the jail,” he added.

The Sheriff’s Office applied for the grant in May and learned Wednesday it had won the funds.

Bringing bodycams to the office is a change for Royal, who’d previously opposed using them. The Civil Grand Jury in 2016 recommended his office use them, though Royal at the time called them cost prohibitive and unnecessary.

“It was going to be onerous,” Royal said. “We’re now in a position to move forward.”

On Thursday Royal said the technology has advanced quickly since 2016. Additionally, concerns over legislation dealing with the cameras has since been resolved.

The grant will cover the initial costs. The Sheriff’s Office budget, which includes other grants, can absorb annual costs.

Acceptance of the grant now proceeds to the Board of Supervisors. Royal said he’d like the board to vote on the grant within weeks.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email or call 530-477-4239.

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