Despite Democrats’ concerns that vote was rushed, Onondaga Co. Legislature approves purchase of deputy cameras

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The Onondaga County Sheriff will immediately get the $606,000 requested to purchase body cameras for his 224 deputies on road patrol.

Tuesday, the Onondaga County Legislature approved the adjustment to the 2021 budget.

The vote was along party lines: 11 Republicans in favor, 5 Democrats against with one Democrat absent.

The Democrats’ no votes come after debate in the chamber in which they claim the allocation is being rushed without a long-term plan for body cameras.

The funding that was passed will allow for the first year of a camera program, but more money will be needed for subsequent years.

For a five-year contract with camera brand Axon, also used by the Syracuse Police Department and New York State Police, the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office calculates a quote of $3,423,500.

The quote is broken down into four sections, one for each department of the sheriff’s office: civil, police, correction, and custody.

At a briefing Monday, County Executive Ryan McMahon says he will authorize $606,650 this year and similar funding in subsequent years to immediately outfit “police” deputies.

The county’s “police department” refers to the 224 deputies who patrol the streets. The agency asked for 224 personal devices, 40 secondary devices, 10 back-ups to be stocked, and 67 cameras for inside and outside deputies’ patrol cars.

The Onondaga County Legislature will meet Tuesday and is scheduled to vote to spend the $606,650 immediately.

McMahon says he will forward the additional requests to the Onondaga County Legislature’s Public Safety Committee for further review.

The Sheriff’s other departments deal with the jails, transportation of inmates and other law enforcement matters.

In an interview with NewsChannel 9 on Tuesday, Sheriff Conway says he will get started with the cameras he has.

McMahon agreed to the initial purchase last month after Onondaga County Sheriff Eugene Conway demanded full funding immediately.

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