DUMMERSTON—By mid-January, deputies with the Windham County Sheriff’s Department will have body cameras installed on their uniforms.
These audio and video devices record interactions between the deputies and civilians during official activity.
“We think it’s going to be very beneficial to my office and to the public,” Sheriff Keith Clark said at the Dec. 7 regular Selectboard meeting.
“It brings us up to 21st century policing. It also becomes a training tool” for supervisors to review with deputies where their actions were good or needed work, Clark said.
“If people know they’re being videotaped — not just officers but the public — they tend to stay calmer,” said Clark, noting these devices can help resolve complaints.
The devices’ vendor will provide technical training to the officers, and Windham County State’s Attorney Tracy Shriver will train the department on legal issues, Clark said.
Clark told members of the Dummerston Selectboard that his department and the Legislature are working on privacy concerns raised by recording all law-enforcement interactions.
He gave the example of a deputy responding to a medical assist call for a person who collapsed in their home unclothed. An argument could be made that this recording is a public record and should be released. Does releasing the video violate a person’s privacy? Clark asked.
The Selectboard thanked Clark for his presentation.