County Commissioners look for more options in body cameras

Discussion over body cameras

SAN ANTONIO- In 2016 the county spent more than $800,000 dollars for 300 cameras from a company called Utility, but reports only 40 body cameras ever hit the streets. After being elected last year, Sheriff Javier Salazar asked that those cameras not be used and new company, Axon come in with new cameras adding up to millions of dollars.

"We have had cameras for two years and haven't done a thing with them,” said Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff.

But County Commissioners voted against that as well. Now, they will take several months to allow several companies to bring forward a bid for cameras. And Sheriff Salazar says he sees no need to use the cameras that have already been purchased with county money.

"I don't see any reason to use them, I am not refusing to, but at this point in time I don't have any particular reason to,” said Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar.

Sheriff Salazar says the Axon cameras are a better system and would work better for the department.

"I think that if cost were the only determining factor, we would be driving compact cars right now, we drive Chevy Tahoe SUV's for particular reason, we could save money by going to something like a Chevy volt, but there is a reason we don't do that,” said Sheriff Salazar.

But, County Commissioner Tommy Calvert doesn't want to waste the money already spent.

"They lower incidents of racial profiling, they lower incidents of misuse of force, they lower incidents of fights by citizens against our law enforcement officers, so this is an important public safety tool,” said Precinct 4 County Commissioner Tommy Calvert.

A representative from Utility, the company that the county has already purchased hundreds of cameras from was at today's meeting. He said they could assist in deploying those cameras ASAP if they wanted. But now it looks like instead it will be a waiting game. Now it will be anywhere from 3 to 4 months until County Commissioners decide what vendor to go with. We of course will stay with this and keep you updated.

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