Dixie State police plan to start using body cameras

Stock image | Photo courtesy of Pixabay, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Dixie State University’s Police Department is awaiting approval to once again start equipping its officers with body cameras.

Dixie State police have had body cameras in the past, Chief Blair Barfuss said, but they weren’t set up properly, rendering them useless to the department. Because of the hours of recording, body cameras produce large amounts of data, which in turn causes issues with storage.

Read more: City approves purchase of police body cameras

According to a report from Emergency Management, storage for body cameras costs approximately $100 a month per officer.

To solve the data issue, Barfuss said the department recently purchased Axon body cameras, which can cost between $200-400. It also purchased the cloud storage features, which will allow officers to store all videos and photos.

“I’m not going to give out specific numbers,” Barfuss said, “but (body cams) run roughly $1,200 to $1,300 an officer per year.”

There are also additional fees for setup, he said. The cost of the cameras and storage is covered by the department’s budget.

Dixie State police haven’t deployed the body cameras yet because there first needs to be a written policy approved and in place. It is likely will be presented this month to the Dixie State board and President Richard “Biff” Williams.

“Our policy is going to be any time officers are specifically speaking with the public or taking enforcement actions, we want those situations recorded,” Barfuss said.

When he worked for West Valley City Police Department, Barfuss said everything had to be recorded on the body cameras, including when officers were at four- to five-hour football games.

“It wears out the product, and it ruins it.”

Besides purchasing body cameras, Barfuss said that for the two months he’s been chief of police, he’s been working on budget and staffing proposals, and creating a policy/procedural manual.

He said he can’t give specific details on those proposals because they haven’t been presented or approved, but said his budget proposals deal with staffing more sworn-in officers. Barfuss told St. George News in June that he wants 12 full-time officers on campus, supported by part-time and reserve officers.

Read more: Dixie State’s new police chief says department is making ‘significant’ changes

“All of those things have been on hold until we present to President Williams and to the board,” he said. “But I’m hoping those conversations are also within the month.”

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