A contract recently agreed to between the Sumter Police Department and Taser is expected to lead to all department officers being equipped with body cameras by December, according to comments by Sumter Police Chief Russell Roark at Tuesday’s Sumter City Council meeting.
With the five-year contract with Tazer – the company known better for its electrical weapons – the Sumter Police Department will receive body cameras for all officers, the docking stations and software needed to manage the equipment, and 8 Terabytes of data storage. Funding to pay for the $304,000 contract with the company was provided by the South Carolina Department of Public Safety via the same legislation passed by the South Carolina General Assembly last year requiring all South Carolina law enforcement agencies to start using the body camera equipment.
That same law required the Sumter Police Department first adopt an official agency policy on the use of body cameras and have that policy approved by the state’s Criminal Justice Academy, which Roark said has been completed.
With the contract in place, Sumter police will begin receiving the cameras during the first week of November, and will then begin the process of training officers on how to use the devices. Roark said he expects training to be completed and the cameras to be in use by either the end of November or the first week of December.
Roark said his department began studying the implementation of body cameras two years ago, and ultimately opted for the service contract because of the prohibitive costs, not of the cameras, but rather to manage the tremendous amount of data the cameras will likely generate.
“The body camera itself is not that expensive of a device, but storage of the data can be a very expensive piece of the puzzle,” Roark said.
With the contract, Sumter PD will also be able to replace the cameras for updated models halfway through the five-year contract.