Erie County Legislature Looks to Kickstart Sheriff Body Camera Program

Allocation of funds comes alongside high profile body-cam case

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Buffalo, NY (WBEN) - At the same time that an Erie County Sheriff's Deputy caught on a police body camera bloodying a tailgater at a Bills game appeared in court, the county has decided to push forward with a police body camera program.

The Erie County Legislature voted to approve $600,000 of its surplus money to jump-start a body camera program for the Sheriff's Department on Thursday. The move comes after years of studying the idea, which included a trial run of deputies wearing cameras.

But will that be enough money to start the program?

"I'd like to see it fully funded. I don't think $600,000 cuts it," said Legislator Joe Lorigo. "$2 Million would at least cover a year or year and a half."

Those in favor of the allocation though pointed to programs in towns like Cheektowaga, which is equipping 90 officers at the cost of about $500,000, to say that the funds are more than enough to get the program up and running.

"We here in the County have worked with the administration to do the research to come up with an estimate of how much it would cost for us to implement body cameras on road Deputies from the Sheriff's office for five years," said Legislature Chair April Baskin. "We came up with a dollar amount of about the same, and we tacked on an additional $100,000 as a cushion."

"I think the Sheriff's office will continue to give excuses as to why they cannot implement body cameras in Erie County, and we've seen more than a number of reasons why it needs to get done."

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