"It's just a matter of getting up-to-date with the times." That's the way Lincoln County Sheriff Bill Beam explained to County Commissioners why he needed body cameras and tasers for all his deputies at a meeting in December. Commissioners unanimously approved the request.
"With almost everybody having a cellphone these days, videos are made of almost any incident involving law enforcement. Having a body camera will assure that the Sheriff's Office has a complete recording of any and all encounters that provides complete unedited video. The body camera videos may also be useful in prosecuting cases," the Sheriff said. "City of Lincolnton police officers have already had body cameras for some time now, as have most other area law enforcement agencies."
Sheriff Beam had as trio of deputies show off the new cameras for the news media last week. Beginning last Monday, all personnel from the Baker district (central Lincoln County) began wearing body cameras when on duty. This week, the use of body cams includes Charlie district (East Lincoln). Abel district (West Lincoln) will be complete by next week.
Deputies are also getting new tasers.
"We needed a better way of stopping potentially violent subjects without the use of extreme deadly force," the Sheriff told us. "We want to stop violence, not make it worse; we'd rather not have to kill anybody."
The new tasers will be phased in as deputies complete training on their use.