Rankin County Sheriff’s Dept. sees benefits from having deputies wear body cameras

Published: Dec. 29, 2021 at 8:00 PM CST
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RANKIN COUNTY, Miss. (WLBT) - If you live in Rankin County, you may have noticed some of the sheriff’s deputies are now wearing body cameras.

And the department said they’re here to stay.

”If you have to worry about wearing a body cam, you don’t need to be in law enforcement,” Corporal T.J. Picou said.

Back in August, Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey made the call to start putting body cameras on his patrol officers.

“It’s been a lot of challenges to try to find a balanced system that’s reasonable, that is not outrageous to save the data on and we finally settled on one,” Bailey said.

Bailey said he spent $157,000 dollars to purchase 50 body cameras for his department - with 40 of them issued to full-time deputies.

And while there was some push-back in the beginning, he told his deputies “Trust, but verify.”

“I’ve slowly seen, in the short time that we have been using them, is the deputies are embracing the cameras. They want the cameras because it covers them when somebody comes in and says a deputy did A, B, and C. The deputy will come down and load his body cam and it didn’t happen anything like the complainant says,” Bailey said.

One Rankin County resident said the cameras not only help officers, but the public as well.

“I feel like that’s the safe way to go because everybody needs protection and even the cops need protection,” Christi Fisher said.

And according to Picou, he’s seen the cameras improve the quality of service.

“It helps to look back on our reports and everything else, and we’re able to watch the footage. You can actually make sure your report it 100 percent accurate with what happened,” Picou said.

“It adds a little patience,” he continued. “It helps the officers take a deep breath, they might not want to say any particular thing or do anything, but it helps that officer.”

Chief Bailey said that while his reserve officers do not currently have cameras, he is hoping to get more in the future and make them available for officers to check out if they feel like they would benefit from wearing a camera.

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