Catawba County Sheriff’s Office received funding for 85 body cameras

Matthew J. Burton
L Town Radio Station Manager

The Catawba County Sheriff’s Office received funding for 85 body cameras and three spare cameras from Axon, which produces wearable body cameras for law enforcement. Along with the body camera purchases, the office also bought more tasers which Axon also makes. According to a press release, “the contract is a five-year contract that warranties the equipment, and provides unlimited data storage for five years, which is the projected life span of both the Tasers and Body Worn Cameras.” The contract totals $677,808.30.

Catawba County Sheriff
Don Brown

The body camera deal was something Catawba County Sheriff Don Brown, registered politically unaffiliated, made part of his platform. “I’m thrilled that we’ve been able to bring this excellent tool to Catawba County,” he said. “It benefits our citizens, deputies, and community as a whole. Implementing this program was one of my top goals for the Sheriff’s Office, and I’m excited for this step to increase public trust and continue to improve relations and transparency between law enforcement and our community.”

The push for police officers to wear body cameras has increased through the Black Lives Matter Movement, which demands police accountability in the killings of unarmed black men and boys. Recently, body cameras have been questioned as companies begin to expand the technology behind them. Axon is exploring a facial recognition software which residents are worried could make specific populations and communities more of a target. Databases populated of the individuals that police come across in their day-to-day job could also violate privacy standards that the average person expects when they step out of their house for the day.

Rick Smith, who is the founder and CEO of Axon, has been hesitant about the release of these new developing functions until he can see the consequences and potential impacts of them, yet. Smith started Axon to reduce gun violence, to end all gun violence-related deaths. Smith has also come under fire for the amount of money Axon makes off of the equipment the company sells, which makes some people question his true intentions behind the company’s motivations.

The push for police officers to wear body cameras has increased through the Black Lives Matter Movement, which demands police accountability in the killings of unarmed black men and boys. Recently, body cameras have been questioned as companies begin to expand the technology behind them. Axon is exploring a facial recognition software which residents are worried could make specific populations and communities more of a target. Databases populated of the individuals that police come across in their day-to-day job could also violate privacy standards that the average person expects when they step out of their house for the day.

The Catawba County Sheriff’s Office hopes that body camera equipment will result in transparency on both sides of police interactions. The office thinks this is a great chance to build public trust and showcase the good deeds of their law enforcement as they interact with the public every day.

Matthew “MATT MAN” Burton studied Radio / Digital Media Journalism at Carolina School of Broadcasting and is the Station General Manager / On Air Host of L Town Radio. Matt also is the Host of the Nationally Syndicated Afternoon Show, “The Drive Home with Matt Burton” and “On Air With Matt Burton” on L Town Radio and iHeart Radio channels. To email Matt with a story idea or news tip email at MattBurton@ltownradio.com

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