Deputies to wear body cameras inside Gaston County Jail

GASTON COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - Within the next couple of weeks sheriff's deputies working inside of the Gaston County Jail will get a new piece of equipment to wear.

The Gaston County Sheriff's Office now has roughly 115 body cameras for their deputies to wear during their shifts.

Deputies patrolling the streets and serving warrants have already been equipped with the cameras and now even more personnel will have them.

"I was excited about it," said Assistant Chief Darrell Griffin with the Gaston County Sheriff's Office. "It's another tool that helps us do our job."

Griffin oversees operations within the jail. He hopes that deputies wearing the cameras will only make the facility safer.

"An inmate's gonna be less likely to attack an officer working inside a prison or a jail if they know 'what I'm doing is going to be seen on camera, what I say is gonna be heard'. That's like evidence. It's going to be able to be used against the inmate," explained Griffin.

The assistant chief said the use of body cameras may lead to fewer incidents occurring within the jail too.

"I think it's gonna cut down on numbers of assaults on staff, maybe even assaults on other inmates," said Griffin.

He also touted the transparency that the cameras will bring. Incidents will be reviewable once cameras are being worn.

"It's not gonna be a question of what the officer did. It's gonna be there where it can be seen," said Griffin.

The assistant chief said he is only aware of one other jail in the state of North Carolina where the deputies are wearing cameras inside of the facility.

He said the deputies in the Gaston County Sheriff's Office will need to be trained to use the cameras before they can be worn full-time.

The devices record audio and video and stick to a magnetic plate worn under a deputy's uniform. He said they can start recording with a simple tap and will automatically save 30 seconds of video captured prior to when the recording was initiated.

Griffin expects the deputies will be wearing the cameras inside of the jail within a few weeks.

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