"Because we have fixed cameras already in the jail and as to your transparency in the jail we have transparency in the jail," Howard said.That doesn't sit well with the Erie County Prisoners Rights Coalition. They're concerned about incidents such as the one that involved Richard Metcalf, Jr. in 2012. A report from the state commission of correction says deputies in the holding center caused Metcalf's death by applying an unauthorized device called a spit mask on him. The sheriff's office says Metcalf brought on his own death with erratic behavior. The Cattaraugus County DA's office was named to lead an independent investigation, which is continuing.
"The areas that they're talking about deploying the cameras are not the areas where they're really needed where's there's been suspicion of misconduct like in the jail itself," said Baba Eng, the program director for the Erie County Prisoners Rights Coalition.Sheriff Howard says he's in favor of expanding body cameras to the jails under one condition: that another agency pay for them.
The Sheriff's Office says that it will test out the body cameras from 60 days and then decide whether to continue, expand or stop using body cameras. Sheriff Howard says a number of factors will be considered from costs of the program to the equipment itself. Meantime, Buffalo Police say they'll begin testing body cameras in about a month.
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