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Hamilton County Sheriff Presents Camera Purchase Plan

Bill Rinehart

Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Neil wants to buy 230 body cameras for deputies.  But first he has to come up with the money.  The Sheriff's Office received a Department of Justice grant, and can use restricted funds to buy the cameras, but the service agreement and storage costs are not yet covered.

“We need to know as an agency, as the Sheriff’s office, where this funding is going to be coming from. Is it going to be part of the general fund in the future, or not, so we know what direction to go,” he says.

Neil is proposing buying body cameras from TASER International.  He says the company will provide his department with the body cams, online data storage, maintenance, and brand new Taser guns for deputies. 

Neil and his staff told Hamilton County commissioners his budget and a federal grant will purchase the cameras, but he needs money for the rest of the contract.

“That’s why we were here today; to get buy-in by the Board of County Commissioners and to try to secure funding in future budgets to make this happen.”

Neil says the cost over five years is slightly more than $1.4 million. 

Credit provided
The Hamilton County Sheriff wants to buy 230 Axon body cameras from TASER International.

“Those figures are locked in as long as we sign the contract by the end of this month.”

Neil says a $139,500 federal grant takes the cost of the five-year contract down to just over $1.2 million.  He says he has the money to buy the cameras but needs support from commissioners for the rest.

“Our costs through the contract would be approximately $240,000  a year after the initial year.”  The first year, he says, would include the cost of the cameras. 

Neil says he believes commissioners will find the money, in part, because he says the cameras will save the county money in the long run.

Commissioners will wait until the contract is reviewed and approved by the prosecutor’s office before making any decision. They could draw up a resolution approving the purchase and pledging funding for the next four years.

“I think we ended the year pretty good in regards to the sales tax coming in,” Commission President Chris Monzel says. “I’m sure we have some funding. But then going forward we have to build it into our budget.”

Rinehart has been a radio reporter since 1994 with positions in markets like Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska; Sioux City, Iowa; Dayton, Ohio; and most recently as senior correspondent and anchor for Cincinnati’s WLW-AM.