Monday, July 15, 2024

Body camera upgrades desired for Brunswick County sheriff’s deputies

A Calabash man charged with two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder in Shallotte was arrested after a car and foot chase by a Brunswick County Sheriffs deputy Wednesday. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna Ferebee)
Deputies in the patrol division got new body cameras last year; next week Brunswick County plans to give the same to school resource officers and the detention division. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna Ferebee)

BRUNSWICK COUNTY — County commissioners plan to purchase just over 100 body cameras for personnel in the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office. According to the agenda for the board’s Tuesday meeting, the sheriff’s office is “continuing to replace and upgrade its obsolete body cameras.” 

The vendor is WatchGuard Video, owned by Motorola Solutions. Last year the county procured new body cameras for its patrol division; this year it’s looking to acquire new cameras for deputies in the detention center, school resource officers and other divisions. 

The agreement with the Motorola subsidiary — for 103 cameras, evidence management software, camera mounts and battery packs — totals about $300,000. It’s a five-year contract, with annual costs of about $63,000. The expense was mostly dealt with in Brunswick County’s newest annual budget, but the remaining costs for this year’s payment, $23,639, will be covered by Brunswick County Schools. 

The school system will continue to pay almost $20,000 annually throughout the contract period. 

At Sept. 7’s meeting, Brunswick County leaders also will consider staff’s draft plan for putting to use $27,699,060 in federal funds. The county has already received half of that cash, which, as a product of the American Rescue Plan Act, is Covid-19 relief funding. 

The county’s draft plan would dedicate $13.5 million to water and sewer projects, including “cyber-security upgrades”; $6.2 million to be injected into the community, public and private, in grant money; $3.84 million to serve the county’s needs, like capital construction and essential worker compensation; and $2.77 million for future projects yet to be identified (read more here). 

(It’s also projected that spending all that money will cost about $1.4 million in itself.)

There’s also an agenda item from the county attorney — to sign onto the state’s game plan for the pending opioid litigation settlement. The settlement between North Carolina and multiple drug distributors — Cardinal, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen, Johnson & Johnson — could send as much as $850 to N.C. over an 18-year period, according to the county. 

Eighty percent of the settlement money is slated to go to local governments, and each city and county has the opportunity to sign onto the agreement. 

Commissioners will conclude the meeting with a private, closed session, where they will, in part, “discuss matters relating to the location or expansion of industries or other businesses, including any economic development incentives that may be offered by the County in negotiations.”

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