At a cost of $1.2 million, the Pulaski County Sheriff's Office has purchased in-vehicle cameras and body-worn cameras for all of its active deputies.
Sheriff Eric Higgins said a $440,000 federal grant paid for the body-worn cameras, but the sheriff's office paid for the rest.
"We had to make adjustments within our budget," Higgins said. "I felt it was a priority. Normally in our budget we have an opportunity to purchase, around this time of year, other vehicles, and I made a decision we would not purchase other vehicles. We would use those fundings so that we could equip the vehicles we have with the in-car cameras and equip the deputies with the body cameras."
The sheriff's office said a total of 121 in-car cameras, and 235 body-worn cameras were purchased, which will allow deputies and vehicles in the detention facility to also be equipped with the cameras. Sensors on weapon holsters and the tasers used by the deputies will signal the cameras to record. Specific policies regarding when the cameras will activate are being reviewed by the county attorney.
Earlier this year the Little Rock Police Department put out for bids from companies to equip all officers with body-worn cameras. Higgins said the use of the cameras will help build trust between the sheriff"s office and the community as well as protect the deputies from false complaints. The cameras are expected to be installed and in use in November.