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Cruiser camera request shot down by commission

November 15, 2002|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Jefferson County Sheriff Everett "Ed" Boober could not generate support Thursday from the Jefferson County Commission to buy video cameras for the department's cruisers.

Boober asked the commission last week to approve a $40,000 contract to install the video cameras.

Boober said having video cameras inside cruisers serves a number of benefits, such as accurately documenting the actions of deputies in case a complaint is ever made against them.

The cameras can be also be used for evidence, especially in drunken-driving cases when deputies are doing sobriety tests, Boober said.

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The commissioners said Thursday they were not questioning the usefulness of the cameras, but were instead troubled over how they would be funded.

The commissioners said a request for the cameras was made during the last county budget process but they turned it down.

Some other equipment purchases were approved for the department but the commission did not feel it could fund the cameras.

Jefferson County Commission President James K. Ruland questioned whether the commission could commit to an expense that a later county commission would be responsible for.

Ruland and Commissioner Dean Hockensmith will step down from the commission at the end of the year and be replaced by Greg Corliss and Rusty Morgan.

Under the camera 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.

Hockensmith supported buying the cameras. He said the county should be able to fund them since slot machine revenue from Charles Town Races & Slots has been increasing.

Hockensmith made a motion to give Boober money for six of the cameras, but the motion failed for lack of a second.

In a related note, U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., announced Thursday that the state would receive $146,262 from the U.S. Department of Justice's office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) to purchase video cameras for state police vehicles.

This is the third round of COPS grants made under the In-Car Video Camera Program since 2000, Capito said in a news release.

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