GREENE COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL)- School resource officers in Greene County will soon be equipped with a new type of camera.
News Channel 11’s Kristen Gallant spoke with Sheriff Wesley Holt Tuesday as he explained what the 360-degree camera will be used for.
Starting this fall, all 17 school resource officers will have a 360-degree camera that will be placed on the school resource officer’s shoulder.
We’re told this is a trial run for the department to see if they will purchase these for all deputies in Greene County.
Sheriff Holt also explained that every vehicle in his department will also now have a car camera that can video both the front and back of the vehicle.
Sheriff Holt said he believes Greene County Schools are one of the first in our region to receive these types of cameras for school resource officers.
The 360 cameras are used at some sporting events. Sheriff Holt says now the makers of these cameras are condensing them, making them more compact for law enforcement use.
With an SRO in each Greene County School this year, the Sheriff’s Department is investing in more than just these body cameras.
“We got 17 new school resource officers. So we’re having to outfit 17 new cars with cameras. Luckily with gas prices being so low, I was able to move the gas money that I had left over at the end of the budget year into buying those cameras. The 360 cameras are around 500 and some dollars, the body cameras are $595, and the in-car cameras are around 2,000 dollars. This will give the parents- they can watch the video and see what happened and it give the officer credibility when they’re in a school. They’re in a controlled environment. That way we can really see if these cameras are going to work with a 360 view,” said Sheriff Holt.
Melissa Koehler is a mother of a Chuckey-Doak High School Student and has had several other children graduate from Greene County Schools. She says the new cameras will help put her mind at ease about her child’s safety.
“It’s defiantly something that in this day and age you don’t want to have to think of but you do. I can worry about normal parent things like, are they doing their homework, are they listening to their teacher, and I don’t have to worry about their safety. Throughout their years in high school, they always knew that that SRO was there and if they needed them, how to get a hold of them. You never want to be too safe, and having them there and their presence there I think gives that sense of security not only within the school but within the surrounding areas,” says Koehler.
These cameras are coming from a company out of Chattanooga.
Along with the vehicle and 360 body cameras, the sheriff’s department also bought compact body cameras for their patrol officers. Both types of cameras are only in use when the officer chooses to turn them on. Sheriff Holt said that that is up to the officers’ discretion.