Augusta County sheriff answers questions concerning body cameras on deputies

Augusta County Sheriff's Office in Verona.
Augusta County Sheriff's Office in Verona.(WVIR)
Updated: May. 20, 2021 at 7:30 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - On Wednesday, May 19, Augusta County Sheriff Donald Smith responded on social media to answer questions regarding body cameras on deputies and his viewpoint.

In a post on the Augusta County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) Facebook page, Sheriff Smith answered many questions on why body cameras are not currently used by Augusta County deputies.

From the Sheriff's Desk: The media has asked me a series of questions for an article that they are working on after...

Posted by Augusta County Sheriff's Office - Sheriff Donald L. Smith on Wednesday, May 19, 2021

“The ACSO does not have the adequate funding for a body camera program,” Smith said in the post.

Smith went on to explain over the last few years, they’ve met with different companies with an intent to create a program for his agency.

The post explained that having a set of eyes in cars and on deputies requires more than just cameras. Smith said in the post that videos need to be stored somewhere, technology would need to be updated and staff would need to be trained to access the footage.

The post says in the past, the ACSO has asked the Augusta County Board of Supervisors for funds but was not approved for it.

“As previously stated, body cameras have been one of my strategic goals for the agency,” Smith said in the post. “However deputy’s wages, vehicles, and protective gear have been my priority over the cameras due to budget restraints.

Smith also answered some questions regarding dealing with mental health in a deputy-involved shooting, which happened just last week. Smith said his deputies are well equipped to respond to mental health issues and a lack of training was not the issue.

Smith was not free for follow-up questions before WHSV’s deadline.

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