BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The Kern County Sheriff’s Office will now be able to outfit all deputies with body cameras.
The county Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a five-year $5.1 million contract with Axon Enterprises for the purchase of 195 additional body cameras, bringing the department’s total to 325 — enough for patrol deputies in its 14 substations.
The contract also includes taser upgrades and unlimited storage of video evidence. Tasers will be outfitted with smart batteries that will send signals that will automatically activate body cameras if a taser is deployed, according to KCSO.
Undersheriff Doug Jauch said during Tuesday’s board meeting that the purchase of the additional cameras will help increase transparency and advance public trust, help mitigate liability to the county, assist District Attorney’s office in successfully prosecuting offenders and more.
“It is the Sheriff’s Office’s belief that these videos will capture the interactions that our staff have on a daily basis with all segments of our community that are overwhelmingly positive and highlight the sheriff’s and Sheriff’s Office’s commitment to our communities and to community policing,” he said.
KCSO purchased its first set of body cameras in 2015 from Axon. In 2018, it purchased an additional 90 cameras.
By the end of August, Jauch estimates all patrol staff will be outfitted with cameras.