Sheriff requests funding for body, car cameras


The Dubois County Sheriff’s Office is looking to get in-car cameras and body cameras for all of its officers.

Sheriff Tom Kleinhelter requested the Dubois County Council put $200,000 in his 2020 budget for the cameras.

“It’s something we need to do,” he said Monday during the council’s all-day budget meeting. “It’s something we need to keep ourselves and the public accountable.”

Some officers have a body camera now, but those cameras are older models. “To download a 20 minute video, it takes 20 minutes to download,” Kleinhelter said.

With the new models, he said, the data would automatically download once the officer arrives back to the security center.

Kleinhelter said the current technology is so refined that officers do not have to remember to turn on the cameras. The system can be set so that when the officer is called to a location, the equipment will automatically turn on when the officer gets close to the destination, he said.

“There’s nothing the officer has to do as far as turning it on,” Kleinhelter said. “They can manually turn it off if it’s nothing. But they don’t have to worry about going to a call and having to turn everything on. It will kick on automatically.”

Should an officer turn off the equipment prior to arriving at a location, Kleinhelter would want an explanation of why that was done, he said.

The Jasper Police Department will be getting body and car cameras for its officers; those will cost $233,000, which is being paid over five years. Kleinhelter said he based his $200,000 estimate on Jasper’s cost, but he believes it won’t be as expensive for the sheriff’s office.

“It’s something I want to look into,” Kleinhelter said.

Council members agreed that the officers need the cameras. “I think it’s a good idea,” Councilman Mike Kluesner said, “for liability for both sides.”

But the council opted to not add the funding to the sheriff’s budget yet, asking Kleinhelter to research the cost first and bring back the actual costs.

“I’m curious to know if you will need more server space or if there is something else you would need as a backup on site,” Councilwoman Charmian Klem said, “and what kind of additional cost is associated with that.”

Funding for the cameras can be done at a later time through an additional appropriation, if needed. Council members told Kleinhelter to also work with the county auditor’s office to see if there are any other funds available to help cover the cost.

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