BAKERSFIELD, Calif., (KBAK/KBFX) — Tiara King, is a Council Member on the Sheriff's Community Wide Advisory Council. She says her group got a tour of the Kern County Sheriff's Office department in January and was shocked to learn less than half the officers had body cameras. She says today is a big day.
"I was ecstatic , I mean our advisory board has been working effortlessly with the sheriff's department," King said.
Tuesday, the Kern County Board of Supervisor's Voted to approve a $5.1 million five year contract between KCSO And Axon Enterprises. This will add 195 Body Cameras To KCSO, giving them a total of 325 body worn cameras.
"This agreement provides access to Axon Direct, which will allow the field supervisors and managers to review and audit body worn camera footage on a regular basis, to allow us better oversight in the field," Doug Jauch, Undersheriff for the Kern County Sheriff's Office, said.
The deal also includes taser upgrades for the department and more storage space for their tasers. One of the upgrades includes smart batteries, which will send a signal to automatically turn on the deputy's body cameras if the taser is used.
"A signal sidearm, which is attached to the firearm holster, which activated the primary user's body worn camera, with additional body worn cameras within the range of the signal anytime a firearm is removed from the holster," Undersheriff Jauch, said.
Patrick Jackson, President for the NAACP Bakersfield Branch says this is good for the officer and the civilian.
"Lethal force is one thing, but there's also brutality that happens as well and so those issues being caught or deterring an officer from going into that type of behavior," Jackson said.
The county's contract with Axon starts July first. KCSO expects to have all the body cameras on deputies by August.