Columbia County, Ga. (WJBF) – In Columbia County, Sheriff’s Office do not have body cameras, and one local lawyer is saying they should. He’s headed to the Columbia County Commission meeting to ask for help.
The Augusta attorney will be here tonight. He’s asking Commissioners to put an ordinance in place for police requirement to wear body cameras.
Samuel Emas doesn’t live in Columbia County. BUT as a lawyer in Augusta, he deals with cases in the county all the time.
He says this equipment can protect officers, reduce costs, and resolve cases faster.
He also wants dash cams in police cars
“When you have video evidence, you have evidence that is unbiased, that is objective, and which both sides see it the same way. Otherwise, you have to go with witness statements,” says Emas, “and witnesses might have poor memory. They might be biased. They might have their own interests. They might lie. They might exaggerate.”
The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office sent NewsChannel 6 a statement.
They say they would be glad to wear them if they got annual state or federal funds. They also say “we have had 5 deadly force incidents the past 10 years. All were reviewed and cleared by the District Attorney’s Office.”
“There are federal grants which the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office can apply for and can receive that are specifically earmarked for body camera funding. With regard to the second point with use of force incidents, Columbia County’s Sheriff’s Office, unlike Richmond County and Burke County, investigate their use of force internally,” says Emas.
If the Commissioners deny his request, he says he’ll rally citizens in a petition to try again.