Sweetwater jailors now wear body cams in novel program

SWEETWATER COUNTY, Wyo. — The Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office is implementing a groundbreaking transparency measure at its jail in Rock Springs.

Sheriff John Grossnickle said the implementation of body-worn cameras for uniformed detention deputies at the Sweetwater County Detention Center is now underway. The program is the first of its kind, statewide, at a county detention facility.

Detention deputies on all shifts are now required to wear a camera and to record any time they have contact with an inmate or are in an inmate zone, with the exception of those areas regulated by existing privacy laws. These recordings are then uploaded to cloud storage at the end of each shift for posterity and subsequently made available for supervisory or administrative review.

“After a thorough review of day-to-day jail operations, and using the success of our camera program on patrol as a measuring stick, the benefits of a similar program at the detention center were obvious,” Grossnickle said. “The management of the detention center is essential to the overall success of our agency. Safety and security is paramount for both inmates and staff, and our deputies, citizens and detention center inmates deserve the transparency it provides.”

The Sheriff’s Office first implemented a body-worn camera program for patrol operations in 2016. Since that time, citizen complaints against patrol deputies of alleged misconduct have plummeted.

Undersheriff Jason Love added, “Body-worn cameras have helped us more than they’ve ever hurt us. The detail and perspective these cameras provide instills a higher level of professionalism and fosters public trust. They are designed to protect everyone involved, deputies and citizens alike. They’re also an invaluable administrative, training and evidentiary tool.”

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