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Sacramento County to discuss funding for body cameras at budget hearing

Sacramento County Board of Supervisors to deliberate over the recommended $6.41 billion budget from the county executive.

SACRAMENTO, Calif — On Sept. 9 at 5 p.m., the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors plans to discuss and decide on the county’s $6.41 billion budget

And $2.1 million is dedicated to body cameras for the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office and Park Rangers, according to Sacramento County Executive Navdeep Gill in his letter to the supervisors.

“I think they are an essential component part of building trust and accountability and that they are an innovative tool for law enforcement,” Sacramento County Supervisor Phil Serna said.

Serna along with Supervisors Sue Frost, Patrick Kennedy, Susan Peters, and Don Nottoli said body cameras can be a useful tool and that Sacramento County Sheriff's deputies should have them.

“I have felt for some time that we have not prioritized enough the funding and deployment of body cameras here in Sacramento County,” Serna said.

Supervisor Kennedy told ABC10 that four years ago the Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones was opposed to body cameras. Jones said starting in 2018, he decided to support the use of body cameras and told ABC10 the department "desperately wants body cameras."

While the supervisors and Jones think body cameras will help build trust in the community, The People's Budget Sacramento's spokesperson Kula Koeing disagrees.

“The Sacramento County sheriff, he doesn’t even provide the basic data that we want to see, so we don’t expect him to provide information that comes from body cams,” Koenig said. "And, so that's definitely not where $2.1 million should be spent."

The People's Budget Sacramento collected surveys to find out what the people in Sacramento County want to see funded in the county's budget.

The survey found the majority of participants want the money to be spent on:

  • housing and homeless services programs
  • public health programs
  • food access programs
  • mental health programs
  • restorative justice programs
  • environmental justice programs
  • youth programs
Credit: Courtesy: The People's Budget Sacramento
The People's Budget Sacramento found residents in Sacramento County have different priorities than the budget set forward by the county staff.

Koenig said the majority of cuts should come from sections of the budget set for law enforcement and that more money should be invested in health services, housing, and other community needs, based on the data collected.

Koenig added that The People's Budget Sacramento still is accepting surveys from Sacramento city and county residents.

"This is just the beginning," Koenig said.

Should the body cameras be funded with the coming budget, Nottoli said he has questions about how the program will work and when the deputies will begin to wear the body cameras.

Sheriff Jones said his department would begin work towards purchasing, training officers to use the cameras, and developing proper procedures for camera records. He hopes to have them on the streets in six months. 

To read the full budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year, go to the Sacramento County website.

Attending the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors Meeting

Sacramento County plans to live stream the meeting, with closed captioning, as well as broadcast it on KUBU radio on 96.5 FM.

Sacramento County residents can participate in the public comment portion of the meeting over the phone.

Members of the community should call 916-875-2500 and follow the prompts to be placed in a queue for a specific agenda item or off-agenda topic. The agenda can be found on the county website.

Written submissions for public comment can be emailed or mailed to the county; however, they will not be read during the meeting but will be sent to all supervisors for consideration.

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