SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — At a Friday afternoon press conference, the Onondaga County Executive announced that he wants funding to be expedited for body-worn cameras for the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office.
“It’s important that we get this done. I was happy to see the Sheriff’s position today,” Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said. “They’ve done a very good job over the last year.”
McMahon says there is money that can be put in the budget, and he plans to have the procurement process begin immediately.
“We need to fight while the iron is hot,” McMahon said.
Chairman Dave Knapp has agreed to be the legislature’s sponsor for this initiative.
McMahon is hopeful it can be on the legislature’s agenda in May.
“I don’t pretend to know how to run the Sheriff’s Department,” McMahon said. “The earliest we could probably order something would be in May.”
The announcement comes just hours after public comments from Onondaga County Sheriff Eugene Conway blasted a Syracuse.com report that he’s “refusing” the equipment for his deputies. Conway sought to make it clear that he supports the “concept of body cameras,” but doesn’t have the required funding to buy them.
Conway says his department participated in a pilot program in 2017, proving his support of technology that offers more transparency regarding police encounters with members of the public. The cameras can also offer protection of officer’s behavior in the event of misleading public complaints.
At his briefing, Sheriff Conway would not guess how much money he would need to implement a program, which he said he’s only willing to do in full force, not just for a few deputies.
The Syracuse Police Department spent $9,534 per officer, for 220 total officers, for a five-year deal with Axon brand. The package includes the devices, the docking and charging stations, software, and digital storage.
A similar arrangement for the Onondaga County Sheriff to outfit 200 officers would cost $1,906,800.
You can watch McMahon’s briefing below: