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Funding approved for body cameras for PCSD

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TUCSON(KVOA) - The Pima County Board of Supervisors approved a $26,578 million contract for body cameras, tasers and data services for the Pima County Sheriff's Department on Tuesday.

The money will be paid out over a 10-year period.

"The cameras can be a useful tool for them as well, as just the community," Sheriff Chris Nanos said. "The community, let's face it, what's happened in the last year, year and a half in law enforcement, it's just time."

The contract is awarded to Axon Enterprise Incorporated, a Scottsdale-based company. The contract would provide every PCSD deputy and corrections officer with a body camera.

"There is that .01 percent that needs to be evaluated and if we can have video evidence what it is we're doing out in the field to be able to be transparent with the community," Nanos said. "Let's do that."

Nanos said he is hoping to purchase the equipment and complete logistics like updating patrol cars with WiFi modems and updating infrastructure at the Pima County Jail.

Not everyone is on board with the cameras.

"I think the general public believes that body-worn cameras solve all problems of transparency in accountability," Mike Storie, an attorney said. "But I think it's a mixed bag."

Storie has represented several law enforcement officials in officer-involved shootings and says sometimes the footage just does not convey what really happened.

"My experience, when body-worn cameras are used to capture critical incidents specifically officer-involved shootings, quite often they are not in line with the officer's report," Storie said. "And it's not because the officer is lying. It's because the body-worn camera is either from a different perspective or does not portray the conditions the officer is observing."

Nanos says he expects the body cameras to be implemented by January.