CANTON, N.Y. (WWNY) - It’s all on camera. Sheriff’s deputies have body cameras in St. Lawrence County. It could become a key piece of police reform there.
If you get stopped, it won’t be between just you and the sheriff’s deputy. There will be another set of eyes and ears.
Body cams have arrived at the St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department.
The footage can be viewed right on deputies' phones. It’s proof of what went on.
“It’s for that accountability, for the public, that we wear them. And if there’s an incident that occurs, we can review that body cam footage,” said Sheriff Brooks Bigwarfe.
It’s a pilot program. Four deputies have them, but they could become a key part of something bigger. That’s the police reform effort now being undertaken by the department.
“Everybody’s not perfect and if there’s something we could improve upon, this police reform gives you that template, roadmap for doing that. And that’s what were going to do going forward,” said Bigwarfe.
All police departments must draw up a reform plan under an order from Governor Andrew Cuomo. On October 21, a meeting will be held where the public can give input on the sheriff’s plan.
The police reform plan for the sheriff’s department will eventually end up in the lap of the county legislature and that will trigger another opportunity for public comment.
It’s the county legislature that gets final say on the plan. Every police department must have a reform plan approved by April of next year to continue to receive state funding.