Commission discusses body cameras for deputies

POINT PLEASANT — The Mason County Commission is examining its options to purchase body cameras for its deputies in the sheriff’s department.

Commissioners Tracy Doolittle, Miles Epling and Rick Handley heard a presentation on body cameras from Dale Wheeler of Lloyd’s Electronics at Thursday’s regular meeting.

Wheeler talked about the state Legislature finalizing details to require equipping of police officers with body cameras and the Motorola products his company sold. He showed a demo model to commissioners, County Administrator John Gerlach, Lt. Steven Greene and Nancy Wamsley, who writes grants for the sheriff’s department. The model has an HDMI output, it can record up to 60 frames a second, has a laser pointer, LED light and infrared settings.

In addition, the cameras, which appear no bigger than a hand-held radio, can record up to 11 hours of video which Wheeler said was plenty to cover a traditional eight-hour shift. Wheeler also said there was federal money available to pay for this equipment in the form of grants. Wheeler said he would temporarily loan the sheriff’s department one of the cameras to see if it fit its needs.

Gerlach asked Wheeler to get with Wamsley about a cost estimate for the equipment. Wheeler said the cameras start at $450 each but can go up in price depending on the memory/storage desired for the unit. He also said there are price breaks for those cameras bought in certain quantities.

In other commissions business:

Commissioners unanimously voted down a Mason County PSD proposal to increase water rates by 19 percent.

The courthouse roof replacement bid was tabled.

Upcoming commission meetings were set for 4 p.m. July 16, 30; Aug. 4, 27; and Sept. 10, 24.

The commission purchased a used freezer for the 4H camp for $250. Mason County 4H Camp begins this Sunday for older campers and begins on June 21 for younger campers, according to a letter the commission received from Lorrie Wright, extension agent.

Commissioners received a thank you letter from the Letart Nature Park Development Organization for the commission’s recent donation of $300 to obtain a permit from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection Agency required for the park’s excavation project. The First Letart Homecoming is at 2 p.m. this Saturday at the Letart Community Center. Proceeds benefit the park project.

Present at the meeting were Commissioners Handley, Doolittle, Epling and Gerlach.