Deputies, jail staff to wear body cameras

Jail surveillance system gets an upgrade

San Benito County Sheriff’s deputies last week started using body-worn cameras both out in the field and in the county jail, according to authorities.

The sheriff’s office is also in the process of installing a “new, comprehensive system for audio and video recording of our interactions with the public and those in our custody,” reads a press release. That effort includes the recent upgrade of the jail’s security camera system from analog to digital, and the installation of 22 more cameras in and around the perimeter of the jail. The county jail is located north of downtown Hollister, at 710 Flynn Road.

“These measures will ensure we continue to provide quality service and professionalism to all those we serve,” the sheriff’s press release states. Nationwide, body-worn cameras in particular have proven to reduce complaints and provide crucial evidence for prosecutors and case managers.

Though body cameras are increasingly common for patrol officers on the street, it is “revolutionary” to have them worn by jail and corrections staff, the press release says. Studies have shown that an inmate is less likely to be violent when a correctional deputy is wearing a body camera.

The body cameras on patrol deputies will integrate with the sheriff’s office’s existing system of in-car cameras, often known as “dash-cams,” the press release continues. The body cameras will not replace the dash cameras, but will “extend (deputies’) recording capacity away from the vehicle.”

 

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