Body cameras finally coming for Pima County Sheriff’s Department

Will also get new, yellow tasers
Published: May. 5, 2021 at 6:28 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The Pima County Board of Supervisors has approved financing for 400 to 450 body cameras for the sheriff’s department.

Up until now, the sheriff’s department was the only agency in the county without body cameras.

“I think the community is not just asking for it, they’re demanding it,” said the Pima County Sheriff Chris Nanos. “Rightfully so.”

Police agencies nationwide are under scrutiny following a series of shootings that have been recorded, some with body cameras.

“It isn’t enough anymore for me to have a badge on and say, now that didn’t happen and they’re just going to believe me,” Nanos said.

Not only will the department spend more than $1.1 million on the cameras, but is also asking for another $450,000 to purchase new tasers.

The decision comes after a police officer in Minnesota grabbed her gun rather than her taser which led to the shooting death of a young man.

Nanos watched the video and “I said thank goodness we have yellow tasers but then I find out we don’t.”

Nanos wants the tasers to be yellow so they cannot be mistaken for a service revolver.

The county board must still approve the budget for the cameras, but that’s likely a given since the conversations have already been held and details on policy are being worked out.

“Whether you’re in Ajo, Mount Lemmon, Green Valley, or Tucson, you’re going to have a camera,” he said.

The sheriff’s department has argued for years that the decision to forego the cameras was budget-driven. Even Nanos was against them but has changed his mind.

Much of that mind-changing has come from recent events including the George Floyd killing in Minneapolis.

“It’s easy to sit here and say this couldn’t happen in Tucson, this is Pima County,” he said. “But the reality is, it could happen.”

“Yes I’ve changed my mind completely because I don’t think it’s there to keep my deputies in line,” he said. “I think it’s there so that we can see what’s happening in real-time in order for us to provide service to the community.”

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