September 23, 2020  |  03:37 pm

In an effort to improve transparency, the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office is equipping its enforcement deputies with body cameras, and citizens will begin seeing them in use as early as tomorrow (September 24).

As one of his first actions for the new fiscal year, Sheriff Randy Smith signed a contract with Axon Enterprise (formerly TASER International) to purchase body camera for all patrol, traffic and civil deputies. 

The $1.6 million, five-year contract includes not only the cameras, but also the necessary training and, more importantly, the storage and records management for the cameras and footage.

As part of the contract, Axon Enterprise provided the necessary training on the usage of the cameras.

Sheriff Smith said purchasing body cameras has been one of his priorities since taking office in 2016, and when he exhausted all opportunities for grant funding to purchase the cameras, he made the cuts necessary to find the money in the agency’s general fund to purchase the cameras.

“We are excited to equip our deputies with this essential tool,” Sheriff Smith said. “This tool will help increase and promote transparency and accountability within the ranks and within the community we serve. Body cameras put everyone, deputies and citizens alike, on their best behavior.”