Kent County sheriff wants $2.2M to equip deputies with bodycams

Kent County

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Kent County Board of Commissioners will hear a proposal this week to outfit Kent County sheriff’s deputies with body cameras.

On Thursday, the board will be asked to spend somewhere in the neighborhood of $2.2 million for a body camera system.

Sheriff Michelle LaJoye-Young said she hopes the bodycams will provide more comfort to the public when they deal with deputies.

“If they feel more comfortable because there’s a camera there, I’m going to feel better about providing that service for them,” she said. “It’s a big financial commitment, so that was probably the only obstacle that was in place before.”

The Grand Rapids Police Department is the largest agency in Kent County using bodycams. GRPD officers began wearing them in 2015. Officers in Lowell also wear the cameras. But will Kent County deputies buy into the idea?

“We actually did a survey with our law enforcement officers as part of our strategic planning process, and we found that almost all of the officers wanted to have bodycams,” LaJoye-Young told News 8.

The sheriff says if commissioners approve the purchase, she hopes to have deputies wearing the cameras by January.

A number of other departments in the area are either discussing or in the process of getting the cameras.

Information on how many departments already have them is hard to come by. Neither the Michigan Sheriffs’ Association and Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police currently track police agencies that use body cameras, though the sheriffs’ association is working on plan to collect that data.

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