Riverside Sheriff’s Department receives federal grant to expand use of body-worn cameras

RIVERSIDE – The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department announced Sept. 29,  that it received a $577,900 grant from the United States Department of Justice to expand their Body-Worn Camera program.

The grant will be used to “expand the existing internal storage hardware as well as provide about 250 of the (1,000 body-worn cameras) needed,”  according to Chief Deputy Kevin Vest.

The Sheriff’s Department has been testing body-worn cameras over the past eight years and first widely deployed the devices in March 2015 at the Jurupa Valley Station. According to Vest, the deployment “validated that the presence of (worn cameras) positively alters potential confrontations between deputies and the public and results in a reduction in personnel complaints.”

The grant does have some strings attached; the Sheriff’s Department is required to match 50 percent of the money provided by the federal government.

“Matching funds will be provided by existing asset forfeiture accounts and Riverside County Human Resources & Risk Management Division,” Vest said.

In the future, the sheriff’s department looks to expand use of the cameras to deputies in court and jail settings after appropriate testing and study has been completed.

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