FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Loudoun County, VA (October 27, 2020) – In our continuous effort to improve Service, Technology, Efficiency and Professionalism, the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) recently expanded our agency’s Body Worn Camera program to the maximum level allowed, seventy-four, without requiring a budget increase from the Board of Supervisors. The LCSO has also embarked on a first of its kind study to ascertain the usage of Body Worn Cameras in an Adult Detention Center setting.
The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) was one of the first agencies in the Northern Virginia region to initiate a body worn camera (BWC) pilot program in September 2015 when it deployed forty-six cameras as part of a grant program. Those original cameras have been updated and improved for field use. The newly implemented cameras offer additional features, such as automatic activation when a vehicle’s emergency equipment is activated.
Additionally, by working with the County’s Department of Information Technology (DIT), the newly issued cameras allow for DIT to store the recorded videos on the County’s network – making the system less expensive and the recordings more easily accessible.
Overall, the LCSO now has 74 body worn cameras distributed to patrol deputies, 317 in-car cameras installed in every patrol vehicle within the Operations Division, with 66 body worn cameras to be distributed to corrections deputies. The addition of the BWCs in the Adult Detention Center is part of a pilot study of their usage in a corrections setting. The study is being conducted by the CNA Center for Justice Research and Innovation and the National Sheriffs’ Association and will examine how the implementation of BWC technology affects a range of critical outcomes including deputy safety, prevalence of serious events, cost savings, and inmate violence and misconduct.
BWC’s are currently activated during law enforcement-public encounters related to a call for service or law enforcement action, subject stop, traffic stop, and/or deputy services. The in-car cameras are automatically activated when emergency equipment (lights and sirens) are turned on. The new system will turn on both the BWC and the in-car camera when either are in range and activated.
Loudoun County continues to be one of the safest counties in the Washington, DC, area and the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office has enjoyed a nearly 90% citizen satisfaction rating according to a 2018 Loudoun County Citizen Survey. “The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office has taken great efforts to build trust with all members of our community,” said Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman. “The additional Body Worn Cameras will further enhance the mutual respect between our deputies and each and every resident they encounter,” added Sheriff Chapman.
As part of an anticipated continued expansion of the BWC program, the LCSO will continue working with the Loudoun County Department of Information Technology (DIT) to implement infrastructure improvements necessary to accommodate uploading and storing the additional video data on a secured server. The expansion will also require additional personnel due to workload capacities to review video for evidentiary, discovery and Freedom of Information Act requests, as well as impact other agencies, including the Loudoun Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office.
With support and input from the community, the LCSO remains a premier law enforcement organization, and will continue to pursue our Step Up mission to constantly strive to improve service, technology, efficiency and professionalism.