BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The Kern County Board of Supervisors approved a five-year contract with Axon Enterprise to provide the Kern County Sheriff’s Office with body cameras and tasers beginning in July.
The new contract allows KCSO to purchase an additional 195 body-worn cameras, which will total 325 body-worn cameras within the department. The cost of the new contract totals over $5.1 million over the next five years.
The new cameras include technology to automatically activate the cameras when the deputy activates his or her taser or draws their duty weapon, county officials said. Undersheriff Doug Jauch said the body-worn cameras already in use by KCSO will all be upgraded to include automatic activation under this new contract.
"As you're aware, a lot of these incidents happen rapidly and they evolve quickly," Jauch said during Tuesday’s board meeting. "There's not always time for a deputy to activate [a body-worn camera] in these life-threatening situations."
Jauch said the approval of these new cameras will allow the department to outfit all patrol staff deputies with body-worn cameras. He said the department hopes these cameras will highlight its commitment to the community, increase transparency and advance public trust, and assist the Kern County District Attorney's Office in prosecuting cases.
Once the cameras are delivered, Jauch said it will take some time to complete the necessary training to use the equipment, but KCSO expects the program to launch by August.