Sheriff Hopes to implement body cams for all jailers

By Dan Spalding
News Now Warsaw

WARSAW — Jailers in the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department could soon be fitted with body cameras.

While all deputies and detectives in the department are expected to use body cameras, some jailers have been using them as well.

But Sheriff Jim Smith is seeking to expand the use of body cameras to include all jailers.

On Tuesday, the sheriff’s department received support from the county commissioners to apply for a grant through Indiana Homeland Security to help pay for as many as 45  cameras.

Some will serve as replacements, but others will be allotted to jailers.

Safety and vandalism inside the Kosciusko County Jail was a campaign issue last year and Smith said more use of the devices could help address that issue.

He said he sees several benefits from the expanded policy.

Foremost in his mind, he said, is the use of some videos for training purposes to improve inmate interactions.

The videos, including audio, also move disputes beyond having authorities rely on witnesses in a dispute.

The cameras could also serve as a deterrent for inmates to act out.

“There are a lot of benefits that could come from it,” Smith said.

It’s unclear how soon it will take for the new equipment to arrive if the county does receive the $31,000 grant.

Police departments across the country began implementing the use of body cameras nearly ten years ago and the policy has become standard in most departments for patrol officers.

“It’s worked very well on patrols for accountability,” Smith said.

The jail normally staffs six or seven jailers per shift.