GREAT FALLS — Cascade County Sheriff Jesse Slaughter said Thursday he had mixed feelings about the his agency getting body cameras for deputies.
Cascade County Commissioners voted Tuesday to use $100,000 from the county to match a $100,000 federal grant to purchase the cameras.
Slaughter said overall he thinks they’ll be a good thing but he said there needs to be expectations set.
"One thing I want to set as an expectation for the public is there are going to be things that aren't seen on these body cameras. That's just life,” Slaughter said. "But that doesn't mean what's not captured isn't accurate to that deputy's depiction. I think that's the critical thing.”
KRTV also spoke to the Sheriff’s newest deputy to get a deputy’s perspective.
Shane Turner was sworn in Thursday morning. He had been working as a detention officer for the sheriff’s office and has served in the military.
He feels being a deputy is the best way for him to continue to serve his community and believes body cameras will be helpful.
"I feel like it definitely has the ability to reduce a lot of the he-said-she-said in any event. Aside from that, I haven't really been in a scenario where body cameras have been that necessary,” said Turner.
Slaughter said how long the sheriff’s office will store video from body cameras will depend on the incident because retention laws are different for different crimes.
Whether or not video will be released will also be on a case-by-case basis.
“I think it’s a case-by-case basis between the county attorney and I. (The county attorney) and I both believe that not everything requires the same response,” said Slaughter. A lot of times, we have to ask ourselves this question: As law enforcement, what does our government need to be involved in this incident and as what is the public’s right to view what’s been played?”
Additionally, Slaughter said deputies will have training with the cameras and policy training before the cameras go into use.
As of Thursday, when the cameras would arrive was unclear but Slaughter hoped to have them by summer.
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