ALLEGAN, Mich. (WOOD) — In the days after an Allegan County deputy shot and killed a man during a June traffic stop, there was concern over the lack of video documenting the deadly encounter because the deputy who fired the fatal shot was not wearing a camera and his cruiser had no dashcam.
The Allegan County deputy who crossed paths with Joseph Nagle that deadly June night was not equipped with a body-worn camera. The sheriff’s department had just purchased around 75 cameras but that particular deputy had not yet been trained on how to use one.
“We were trying to do our best to get them out in the field as soon as we could,” Allegan County Sheriff Frank Baker said.
Allegan County had only started rolling out its new body-worn cameras in late spring. By mid-June, some of the department’s patrol deputies were already wearing cameras but not the deputy who stopped Nagle on suspicion of impaired driving. So, there’s no video record of the fatal shot, which, on Monday, the prosecutor ruled the deputy was justified in firing.
If it happened today, there would be video because the training process is complete and all Allegan patrol deputies and sergeants now wear cameras.
“We know it’s the best way to be transparent. We know it’s the best way to provide the best evidence. We know it’s going to be helpful in the prosecution of our cases. When somebody’s looking at the video, it’s hard to dispute what took place,” Baker said.
The sheriff’s department is not just equipping road patrol deputies and sergeants with body-worn cameras. It’s also outfitting some corrections officers in the jail with them.
Baker says the more transparency the better, for all involved.
~ News 8 investigative reporter Susan Samples contributed to this report.