BOZEMAN - The Gallatin County Sheriff's Office is getting some new body cameras which Sheriff Dan Springer says is going to catch the department up with the times.
“This has been a long time coming. We have been working on this project for a number of years,” says Springer.
Gallatin County Commissioners recently approved a 5-year contract with Motorola for Gallatin County Sheriff's deputies to wear body cameras. The contract will cost the county $415,000.
“The cost of it has always been daily significant,” says Springer. “It's kind of catching us up to the times somewhat.”
Gallatin County joins a handful of other departments across Montana with body-worn cameras. According to ‘Atlas of surveillance’ a project out of the University of Nevada, Belgrade here in Gallatin County is one of the only city departments with body-worn cameras.
Gallatin County would become one of nine other Sheriff's Offices in Montana to have body-worn cameras, joining Butte-Silver Bow, Stillwater, Carbon, Flathead, Glacier, Missoula, Lewis and Clark, and Mineral counties.
“The advantage is that it does give another tool for prosecutors for deputies as well as the public to see what might have occurred,” says Springer.
Sheriff Springer says that while having body cameras allows for more transparency, they still have their limitations.
“They are stationary. They sit in one spot, they don't move, they’re not on a swivel like your head would be. They don't have a feeling I can tell you from experience from working the street before, that you have a feeling when you grab a hold of someone's arm you can feel them tense up that doesn't show on a camera,” says Springer.
Springer says he hopes to have the cameras in two to three months.
Montana law enforcement agencies share benefits of body-worn cameras
Montana Racial Equity Project weighs in on body-worn cameras on law enforcement officers in Montana
DOJ ending policy prohibiting federal agents from using body cameras