WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman

Erie County Sheriff's Body Camera Program Begins Today

Trial Run to last 60-90 days; costs involved

Mike Baggerman
October 12, 2017 - 3:00 am
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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - The Erie County Sheriff's pilot program for Axon body cameras begins on Thursday.

Erie County Sheriff's Public Information's Officer Scott Zylka told WBEN on Thursday that the study of body cameras began in February.

"On the surface it seems very easy to slap (the cameras on) and hit the streets," Zylka said. "I went to a body camera conference out in San Diego and it was brutally eye-opening to hear the struggles of large and small agencies to get the (program) going. Some agencies went and bought the equipment and put them out on the streets. They had massive failures in a lot of ways whether it was data - not understanding what their needs were, policies and procedures. It ended up working against them."

LISTEN: Our full interview with Erie County Sheriff's PIO Scott Zylka

Body Cams - Scott Zylka RAW.mp3

The sheriff's office is working with Axon Cameras, who provide cameras to Niagara Falls Police.

Vince Valentine, the National Sales Director with Axon Cameras, told reporters on Wednesday that an hours worth of storage typically costs around 75 cents for an area like Erie County.

"Depending on the amount of officers capturing video, depending on what their shift patterns are, and what their roles and responsibilities are, are usually factors that dictate the capture and upload," Valentine said. "Then you move onto the storage component of this. That comes into retention policy and statute of limitations, which various from agency to agency."

The Erie County Sheriff's Department has 150 police officers, meaning if an officer captures a 40 hours worth of footage for an entire year, the cost is $234,000. That doesn't include the storage component, which would increase on a yearly basis.

LISTEN: Vince Valentine from Axon Cameras speaks to reporters about the camera program

Body Cams - Vince Valentine National Sales Director with Axon.mp3

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