DBQ PD Raising Funds for Body Cameras

DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - The Dubuque County Sheriff's Department will soon buy body cameras - a move the sheriff says will increase transparency and improve public safety.

Dubuque Co. Sheriff Joe Kennedy said the entire cost of outfitting the deputies with body cameras will not cost taxpayers any additional money.

Sheriff Kennedy says the total cost is $114,484- that will purchase 100 body cameras for all the deputies on patrol and in the Dubuque County Jail, a pivotal key in the eyes of the Sheriff's Office.

Half of the money will now come from a grant through the U.S. Department of Justice, totaling $57,242. The awarding of the grant was contingent on an applicant's ability to match the grant, meaning the Dubuque County Sheriff's Office was responsible for coming up with matching funds for body cameras.

Sheriff Kennedy says that was something they were able to do without dipping into the budget, because they had money from areas like forfeiture accounts from past staff members.

Now that the project is funded, Sheriff Kennedy says this allows them to better investigate incidents and improve transparency to the public.

"When people have complaints about officers, or saying that officers are doing the wrong things, we'll be able to go back and look at the videos, see how the interaction went, and determine whether or not that claim is false or accurate," Sheriff Kennedy said.

Sheriff Kennedy added this will also help deputies when dealing with disputes both in public as well as in the county jail.

Laws regulate where they can run 24-hour surveillance cameras in the jail. Putting body cameras on deputies will allow them to review disputes and issues that are in those areas they otherwise cannot film.