Registered Agency Profile: Wythe County Virginia Sheriff’s Office

wythe county so body camera donationsRegistered Police Department Spotlight: Wythe County Virginia Sheriff’s Office

Department Donation Effort Contact: Major Anthony Cline

Sheriff: Sheriff Keith Dunagan

Link: Department Website 

Number of Officers: 48

Body Camera Goal: 30 and 5 docking stations

This department has received 22 body cameras and 2 docking stations!

Click here to donate to this department

DONOR Statements:

wythe co so pic 1  body camera donations wythe co so

“When you grow up in a small community we help each other, that’s what we do. I live here all my life, many of the deputies I grew up with… it’s important for me to help get them the resources they need to be protected the best they can. We appreciate all the work they do in the county to protect our citizens. They’re a great group of people.”- State Farm Agent Thomas Hundley

“I saw an article on the front page of our local newspaper that talked about the Sheriff’s Office needing body cameras and registering on BodyCameraDonations.com…and I didn’t think it was right for them to have to wait a long time to get these body cameras. I thought we needed to do this immediately…. We need to have a safe community and this is another step towards that.”- Joseph Hand Jr.

“We appreciate the Sheriff’s Office’s dedication and service they provide to our community and we want to support them to get the resources they need,”- Jerry Hurt

Bob Huff Chevrolet, Buick, and GMC and Huff Ford 

“We appreciate all of the hard work and dedication of Sheriff Keith Dunagan and his team… Donating these tools is a way to show our commitment to assisting them and keeping them safe…repaying them for all they do for this county.”- Mike Huff.

“As soon as we heard Sheriff Dunagan was in need of assistance in purchasing this equipment, we made the decision to step up…Bob Huff Chevrolet Buick GMC and Huff Ford are honored to do business in a county served by this Sheriff and his department. “-Martin Kvasnicka, Operations Director for Bob Huff Automotive.

“We’re glad to support our local Sheriff’s Office,”- Somic America, Inc.

This Department has received $12,525.00 in donations so far!

DONATIONS

Name State Amount
Kevin R. Wytheville, VA $50.00
Dave G. Rural Retreat, VA $50.00
Thomas H. Wytheville, VA $2,800.00
Joseph H. Jr. Wytheville, VA $2,850.00
Jerry H. Wytheville, VA $2,000.00
Bob Huff Chevrolet Buick GMC Wytheville, VA $225.00
Donnie B. Rural Retreat, VA $100.00
Arthur E. Wytheville, VA $50.00
Mark and Vanessa M. Wytheville, VA $150.00
Wythe Power Equipment Corp. $225.00
Kady C. Wytheville, VA $250.00
Anonymous  $3,300.00
Huff F. Wytheville, VA $225.00
Somic America Inc. Wytheville, VA $250.00
Total $12,252.00

Why has your department decided to start a body camera program?
Major Cline: It seems to be the trend of law enforcement agencies across this country. We want to be more transparent. If something happens and we get a complaint, we can say let’s pull up the body camera video and look at it. We do use in car cameras, but if you leave the front view of the car, you don’t have that angle that the officer sees.

How do you believe a body camera program will benefit your officers, department and the community?
Major Cline: We have two interstates in our town so most of our complaints are about traffic tickets. We have the in car camera view, but that doesn’t come close to having that up close door view of the interaction. Body Cameras would also help lower complaints if people knew immediately that they were being rerecorded with a body camera and it would also help with convictions for DUI cases.

Are there any situations where having body camera video evidence would have made a difference in court cases or complaints against your officers?
Major Cline: We had a situation where one of our deputies was responding to a domestic call and was assaulted and suffered brain damage. The incident happened outside the view of the car camera. He was assaulted right outside the frame of the car camera, the assailant slammed his head against the cinder block foundation of a house. You could hear a thud but couldn’t see any of the assault taking place or the suspect. I investigated that case and having that extra footage of body camera video would have made it much easier to prove what happened and prosecute the suspect in court.

We have many more examples of where body cameras would have been helpful. One time a suspect ran at one of our deputies with an Ax. The deputy was able to react quickly and Tased him, but then the family raised the question of why he needed to be Tased and he had no video to back up his account of what happened. Body camera video would have made a difference there.

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.?
Major Cline: We don’t have a policy in place yet because we don’t have body cameras. We will adopt one when we get body cameras and I believe they will have to be activated whenever we interact with members of the public.