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Rollout of body cameras delayed for deputies

Only 51 to 55 specialized units fitted

SAN ANTONIO – Precinct 4 Commissioner Tommy Calvert was frustrated with the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office’s failure to deploy its body-worn cameras. The cameras were initially expected to be rolled out between April and June. So far, only about 14 body cameras and 35 vehicle cameras have been issued.

"There's been a lot of failures when it comes to implementing a body-camera project. One of the things that we had to decide is whether we’re going to put people behind it to support it, or are we going to do that by technology," said Lt. Aaron Von Muldau, with the Sheriff’s Office.

The technology is a Microsoft solution that would allow deputies to upload video to a cloud. It would make it more accessible for prosecutors and save the agency manpower.

"We get about 40 to 60 requests a month. Each request takes anywhere from 15 to 35 minutes to research, download to a DVD and then ship away to the DA's office," Von Muldau said.

Von Muldau said there are perks to waiting and making sure everything is configured, including a Bluetooth control. The control gives the deputy the option to turn the camera off or on. It would also never shut off accidentally.

"You (the deputy) made a choice to turn it off, and all we do (is ask) that the officer explain why," Von Muldau said.

Von Muldau said 51 to 55 specialized units will be fitted with the cameras by Oct. 17. The rest of the deputies will have to wait about six months before all the cameras are rolled out.