Douglas County deputies start packing body cameras |

Douglas County deputies start packing body cameras

Undersheriff Paul Howell wears a new body cam in front of the Douglas County Judicial and Law Enforcement Center Thursday in Minden.
Brad Coman

Douglas County sheriff’s deputies recently started adding body cameras to their standard equipment.

“This is a big moment in our history and we are excited to accomplish the mandate,” Sheriff Ron Pierini said.

The county has been working on implementing the legislative mandate since Undersheriff Paul Howell first heard it would be coming down the pike.

The requirement was approved in 2017, making Nevada only the second state in the U.S. to require all law enforcement officers who interact with the public wear a camera as part of their uniform.

“Although our relationship with our community is great, and much different than those in metropolitan cities, body cameras will benefit those sworn officers who work in those cities, and bring clarity to those encounters,” Pierini said. “Our agency will benefit in the use of body cameras by decreasing the amount of employee conduct complaints, and assist us in procuring evidence in criminal cases. It will reduce the amount of conflicting reports from those involved. It will capture first hand demeanor, injuries and immediate reactions in these cases. We are excited about this roll out of the cameras.”

In preparation for the roll-out, Howell formed a committee comprised of several employees, prepared a feasibility study, tested several products from various body camera companies and developed Sheriff’s Office policies for implementation and use of the cameras.

A five-year contract was awarded to Axon Enterprises on April 17 by the Douglas County Commissioners for a cost of a cost of $573,000 and includes the cost of a system administrator, who will oversee the storage and dissemination of the data.

Axon Body 2 Cameras are being deployed to the 107 uniformed deputies, investigators, sworn jail personnel or those deputies who interact with the public or make enforcement decisions.

The use of body cameras has drawn attention in recent years across the nation in heated debates about policing and the excessive use of force.

Video footage may be available to the public if the requested video meets the requirements for release pursuant to Nevada Public Records law and is subject to all release requirements and provisions as defined in Nevada Revised Statues 219.830.

The person requesting the video will be charged $23 per hour to edit, redact, and prepare the video for release. An additional fee will be charged for the storage medium on which the video is placed. The additional fee will be equal to the Sheriff’s Office cost for the storage medium. Douglas County Sheriff’s Office will not accept a storage device supplied by the public. The storage medium fee can be waived if the recipient can receive the video via an email link.

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