KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — The Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office will soon upgrade its aging dashcam system, which has been a challenge to keep running.
Sheriff Richard Fuller said the system his department currently uses is no longer being made and requires parts from eBay to keep it working.
“In the last 20-plus years, the sheriff’s office has utilized several different companies and in fact in every case, those companies no longer exist,” he told News 8 Thursday.
Fuller said the county is budgeting to replace the patrol cameras because the life of the current system is closely approaching an end to its lifespan.
“Part of a contingency list of ideas for working with these systems is an ultimate removal of the system if it gets to a certain point of failure or if it’s something you weren’t able to replace,” Fuller said. “We’re not there yet.”
Newer systems have high-definition video that automatically uploads to a cloud. Deputies are looking for one that will also include body cameras, which is something the department has never had before. The patrol vehicle camera and body camera would work seamlessly together.
“If you activate your overhead lights, they both (dashcam and bodycam) come on,” Fuller explained. “If there is a shot in the area, these devices now can detect gunshots.”
The sheriff’s office is still working to recover dashcam video from Oct. 18, when a suspected drunken driver hit a cruiser. Fortunately, the deputy was able to jump out of the way and avoid getting hit.
“That one car’s video is being worked on and ultimately we’ll get it. It’s going to be a time thing,” Fuller said.
The camera has been taken out of service following the crash.
Fuller said he would eventually like to add body cameras for corrections officers, as well.
“I have a much bigger grand plan that ultimately the jail will have these cameras on deputies and we’d be like the third jail in the state of Michigan,” Fuller said. ”That’s a higher cost and so we’re looking at the need for that right now compared to the need for the changeover, which was an expected changeover.”
The sheriff plans to have the new cameras in place by the end of next year.