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Commissioners approve $2M for Kent County deputies to get bodycams

The sheriff says it is part of a plan to increase transparency.

Kent County Sheriff's deputies will soon have body cams after county commissioners unanimously approved the $2.2 million request.

Kent County Sheriff Michelle LaJoye-Young requested the funds in order to purchase 200 body cams for all personnel. Dollars from the request will also go toward replacing tasers and in-car cameras in all 83 cruisers.

“This investment will allow for greater transparency for the residents in our community,” said LaJoye-Young in a press release. “Body cameras offer real-time information about what happened on a call for service or with any public contact."

Kent County Commissioners approved the request at a Thursday meeting. All personnel will receive their body-worn cameras in the first quarter of 2021. 

The request also includes funds for additional cameras for the detective interview room, as well as, docking stations and a service contract for the cameras. 

In the past, the Kent County Sheriff's Office has attributed its lack of body cameras to the cost and shifting technology. The department has been using in-car cameras for over a decade. 

In Muskegon County, sheriff's deputies began training with bodycams this summer. The Ottawa County Sheriff's Office does not have body cameras. 

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