The Onondaga County (New York) Sheriff’s Office is working to fix delays, poor planning and miscommunication that have plagued its $2.5 million system of body cameras and dashboard cameras since they were purchased 18 months ago.
A deputy’s officer-involved shooting last month exposed the department’s camera failures. The deputy’s body camera nor his dash camera was turned on during the incident.
Sheriff Toby Shelley, who took office in January, told Syracuse.com his administration has been working for months to organize a half-finished camera system inherited from the previous sheriff.
Shelley’s team is working to strengthen policies put in place when the body cameras arrived last year. And they just finished installing dashboard cameras that were delayed by supply-chain issues. Those efforts have been hampered by a lack of communication with the previous administration, Shelley said.
Now that all the equipment is in place, Chief Deputy Matthew Fischer is putting together a new camera policy designed to ensure that incidents like the Sept. 6 shooting get recorded.
Beginning as early as next month, all 230 road patrol deputies will be retrained to activate their body cameras as soon as they are dispatched to a call, Fischer said. That directive will eliminate the ambiguity of the current policy, which says only to turn on the camera “upon engaging in a law-enforcement related activity.”