ANDERSON COUNTY, SC — In about two weeks, Anderson County Sheriff deputies will be suited up with their new body cameras. They said this is after almost a two year process.
The agency made this announcement at a public safety committee meeting on Friday afternoon.
Deputies said they already have the cameras in their possession. Now they are ready to start training their staff. They tell 7-News that training will start on Monday.
For months the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office tested out several different options. Last month, they finally received the funding to purchase the cameras.
They now have 126 Axon body cameras, and those align with their taser systems.
Deputies said they are one of the last agencies to receive the cameras in the Upstate. They said they are ready to put them to work.
“It’s going to put us in line with what everybody else is doing as far as across the nation,” said Lt. Michael Binninger, Special Operations at Anderson County Sheriff’s Office.
Next week they will train the trainers, who will then go back to their individual shifts to train others. After that, they will distribute the body cameras out to road units and anyone in daily enforcement roles.
Deputies said although they have the cameras, they will still have to pay reoccurring fees for the cameras’ storage.
They tell 7-News–the cameras cost roughly $180,000 a year. Deputies said they were able to pay for the first year with grants. They also said the remainder years will be added into their budget.
Anderson County departments receive new drones
Anderson County Sheriff’s Office is taking a new unique approach to solving crimes and tackling problems from the sky.
The County recently received funding to purchase four new drones that will be utilized in multiple departments.
Recently the Sheriff’s Office added the funding to their budget to purchase two drones, and the County approved.
Two more drones were funded by a grant secured by the County’s Emergency Management Services. Right now, they have contractors on staff to fly drones over crime scenes. However, by the department having their own–they’ll be able to respond to scenes much more quickly.
“The best thing about them is, they’re easy to deploy. They don’t make a lot of noise. And the cost of them verses a full helicopter and stuff like that is a lot less. It’s easier to train the pilots and we can get them in the air quicker,” said Lt. Binninger.
Deputies said the drones will be a game changer when they’re searching for missing adults and children. They can also be used to investigate the most violent crimes, and during house fires.
“Emergency management is going to have access to one at all times. We’ll have one in our special operations bureau and the other two will be assigned to our uniform patrol shifts,” said Binninger.
The drones cost about $5,000 each. Deputies said they will have their first drone licence class in early February and they hope to have the program up and running by mid-March.
County leaders will look at a recommendation to revise the animal ordinance
Some leaders in Anderson County have made a recommendation to revise the County’s animal ordinance. They addressed the public safety committee on Friday afternoon, in hopes of cracking down on animal cruelty.
Right now, it’s just a recommendation to amend the existing County ordinance. If passed by the entire County Council, people could soon see a big change in how these cases are handled.
A director at the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office said the current ordinance mimics the state law. That state law says serious offenses must be handled in a higher state court, instead of on a magistrate court level.
The director said they want to remove that from the ordinance, in hopes of potentially being able to handle and prosecute more cases on a local level.
“We want to be sure that ordinance allows us the opportunity for several things. One, that it’s handled appropriately in terms of the seriousness of the crime or the offense. That it goes to the correct jurisdiction in regards to the more serious offense…obviously it should go to the circuit court. If it’s a lesser serious offense that it stays within our magistrate court level here within the County,” said Lt. David Baker, the Director of Anderson County Sheriff’s Office & Emergency Services Division.
That recommendation was passed on Friday by the Anderson County Public Safety Committee. Leaders said they hope they can get some traction on this quickly.
“We have a great working council here. Hopefully we will see a quick turnaround in that and we can start putting cases back in summary court,” said Lt. Baker.
The chairperson of the committee said this will be pushed forward to the full Council for them to vote on fairly soon.