Sheriff wants video in cruisers

The Jefferson County Commission is considering the $40,000 request to put cameras in 12 of the department's cruisers.

The Jefferson County Commission is considering the $40,000 request to put cameras in 12 of the department's cruisers.

November 12, 2002|by DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Jefferson County Sheriff Everett "Ed" Boober said he wants to have video cameras installed in 12 of the department's cruisers to aid officers in their work.

Last Thursday, Boober asked the Jefferson County Commission to approve a $40,000 contract to install the cameras in the cruisers.

Under the deal, Boober said the company providing the equipment would install the cameras now but the county would not have to pay for them for another year.

The commission took the deal under consideration but did not make a decision, Boober said.

Having video cameras in cruisers offers a number of benefits, Boober said.

The footage they record can be excellent for evidence, especially in drunken-driving arrests when deputies are doing sobriety tests, Boober said.


The cameras can also be useful if allegations are made against officers in the way they conduct themselves, Boober said.

A similar issue arose in Berkeley County through a suit in U.S. District Court this year in which it is alleged that a deaf man's rights were violated during a traffic stop.

Kent P. Richland, who also cannot speak, claimed Berkeley County Sheriff's Deputy R.L. Gardner refused to communicate with him through writing during the traffic stop.

Richland was driving to North Carolina with his two sons when he was stopped for going 70 mph in a 55 mph zone on Interstate 81 in Berkeley County on June 20 last year, the lawsuit said.

After Richland signed a traffic citation for speeding, he attempted to hand a clipboard to Gardner through the front passenger window, the suit said. The clipboard slipped from Richland's hand and fell on the ground, the suit said.

Harry Waddell, Richland's attorney, said it was alleged that Richland threw the clipboard out of the car and struck Gardner.

Richland, who was arrested for committing battery on Gardner, denied he threw the clipboard.

In a police video, which was recorded on a camera mounted on the inside windshield of Gardner's cruiser, the clipboard can be seen shooting out of the passenger window of Richland's car.

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