BCSO moving forward in process to equip deputies with body cameras

SAN ANTONIO – The Bexar County Commissioner's Court on Tuesday authorized the Bexar County Sheriff's Office to move forward in the process of outfitting Bexar County sheriff's deputies with body-worn cameras.

The Sheriff's Office was allowed to enter into negotiations with their selected vendor, Axon, to provide body-worn cameras for the law enforcement and detention divisions.

Late last year, county cpmmissioners approved the field testing of the top two competitors -- Axon and WatchGuard. Six patrolmen and six members of the Special Emergency Response Team tested equipment from both companies for 60 days, and the Sheriff's Office ultimately selected Axon.

The agency presented the pros and cons of the two systems before the Commissioner's Court Tuesday, honing in on the citizen-friendly features of Axon equipment.

"Axon provides increased transparency by allowing members of the community who are involved in or witness an incident to upload video evidence to an online portal, Axon Citizen," Sheriff Javier Salazar said in a news release. "This evidence will allow BCSO investigators to use those videos during active investigations."

The Sheriff's Office said it is one of the few agencies in the nation to equip deputies with body-worn cameras while on patrol and in the jail.

Axon is the system currently employed by the San Antonio Police Department.

County Commissioners Justin Rodriguez and Chico Rodriguez and County Judge Nelson Wolff voted in favor of the measure. Precinct 4 County Commissioner Tommy Calvert abstained from the vote and Precinct 3 County Commissioner Kevin Wolff had to leave the meeting early and was not present for the vote.