Registered Agency Profile: Oglethorpe Co. Georgia Sheriff’s Office

oglethorpe county sheriffs body camera donationsRegistered Agency: Oglethorpe County Sheriff’s Office

Sheriff: Sheriff David Gabriel

Agency Donation Effort Contact: Lt. Michael Matthews

Link: Department Website 

Number of officers: 18

Body Camera Goal: 10 

Click here to donate to this department (select Oglethorpe County Sheriff’s Office)

Registration Statement- We are a small rural county Sheriff’s Office, however, we average over 12,000 calls for service per year. Many times our Uniform Patrol’s backup can be anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes away. Even though we have a small department, our county is large in size, geographically speaking. Our Uniform Patrol Officers greatly need body cameras to protect them from false accusations, and to assure a more progressive prosecution of the crimes they encounter. There is no doubt we need body cameras, but funding has limited our options to better serve our community.

Thank you,
Lt. Michael N. Mathews

Why has your Agency decided to start a body camera program?
Lt. Matthews: We have decided to pursue the ability of having officers equipped with body cameras to strengthen the integrity of our prosecutable cases, and to protect the officer against false allegations of misconduct.

How do you believe a body camera program will benefit your officers, department and the community?
Lt. Matthews: We feel the body cameras will guard the officers against false accusations and encourage them to make sound decisions.

Are there any situations where having body camera video evidence would have made a difference in court cases or complaints against your officers?
Lt. Matthews: I dare to say any situation or citizen encounter will benefit from body cameras.  It provides a sense of comfort on both citizen and officer for different reasons.

Does your department have guidelines for a body camera policy? If so, what would the policy be? When would officers be required to record, etc.?
Lt. Matthews: We already have a SOP set up for the body cameras.  It was copied from other departments and follow the guidelines of our state code section.