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Hall County receives new body cameras thanks to $31,000 grant

(NTV News)

You have seen the footage online of body camera evidence from police. Now, the Hall County Sheriff's Department will have cameras of their own.

The cameras will be used by deputies, courthouse security personnel, criminal investigators and others on the job.

The body cameras are made possible by a nearly $31,000 grant from the Reynolds Foundation.

Sheriff Jerry Watson said Reynolds came to them a few months back, asking how they could help the department.

Now, 24 body cameras at $450 dollars a piece have been ordered. However, Sheriff Watson said the biggest chunk of change went to something else. Watson said they bought a server with around 13 terabytes of storage for the data on the cameras.

"A couple years ago the legislature passed a law that basically says that anything that we record, we gotta keep for 90 days, so when you're in a 24/7, 365 business like we are, that's a lot of data. But the biggest challenge is going to be just managing that, you know, we can set it up so it'll automatically dump after 90 days but we will also wat to make certain that we're keeping what we need to keep and keeping that organized and what have you,” said Watson.

The cameras work two ways. Sheriff Watson said nowadays, the public wants the cameras to keep police in check, but he said they keep the public in check as well.

“If it's not criminal in nature, yes, they'll have to let them know that you do have a body camera on and if they request that it be turned off, then it is turned off. We need to respect people's privacies and that's part of our policies,” said Watson.

Sheriff Watson said the Grand Island Police Department already had body cameras, but that they are ordering new ones- the same ones as the sheriff's department.

Sheriff Watson said he hopes to have the cameras up and running in the next 90 days.

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