Law enforcement officers wearing body cameras is a widely debated topic across the country. However, guards at the Erie County Prison are now using body cameras and they say they're an asset.
Body cameras are used for several reasons, some which include transparency, to help document incidents and to help prison staff learn. Two years in the making, the Erie County Prison is now equipped with body cameras.
Kevin Sutter, Erie County Prison Warden, says, "Incidents happen here at the jail. Sometimes, you're not able to grab a hand-held camera. We have them positioned all through the jail, but sometimes things happen so fast you can't grab one. So this really helps out. It's another tool in our toolbox."
The lieutenants and captains on the floor have been wearing the cameras for the past few months. Sutter tells us, "Anytime you're dealing with an inmate or running to an incident, we get more footage. Anytime you can document more footage of incidents happening, it's better for us."
The County Administration on board with the technology upgrade. Gary Lee says, "We're dealing with a time in history where transparency is definitely imperative. Not only transparency but accountability. This allows us to have both, transparency and accountability, as we move forward."
The Erie County Prison purchased 15 of the body cameras each costing about $130 dollars a piece out of their budget. "It really enhances the safety and security of, not only staff but inmates, also," says Sutton. "Anything that happens when the captains and lieutenants run around the jail, it's documented. We're able to review it and see if there's anything we can do better or not."
The prison warden says the body cameras are password protected, so nothing can be taken off of them. He also says this helps when overnight incidents happen because it gives them one more camera angle of what happened.
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