Detention center deputies in Johnson County now equipped with body cameras

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OLATHE, Kan.  -- The Johnson County Detention Center now has some new technology, demanding 24 hours of accountability. Deputies wear small cameras, catching every interaction between deputies and inmates.

The patrol division has had the body cameras for a while, and they've been such a success that the lens is now moving past the arrest and into the jail cell.

Stephanie Decker has been a deputy at the detention center for almost a year, but recently she added something new to her uniform.

"You forget; you're aware that it's there and the inmates are aware it's there, but it just becomes a part of your every day normal operation," Dep. Decker said.

Every deputy has one. The small, $300 cameras catch every interaction a deputy has with an inmate.

"There are no blind spots for this. It shows what we see," she said.

In total, there are 44 uniform cameras at the jail. Funding came from the sheriff's budget, and to deputies it was a smart investment.

"I had a couple inmates refusing to lock down, I had no problem asking for help because I knew all of my decisions that were made that day were being recorded," Dep. Decker said. "They're less likely to accuse us of things we don't do. I think it makes them feel safer for the other way around. We can't lie about what they do."

All of the footage is electronically fed to a highly secure website, where it can be viewed by a select group of people.

"We can't alter the footage, our supervisors can't alter the footage, the sheriff can't alter the footage," Dep.  Decker said.

From mug shots to finger prints, the small cameras catch it all, bringing transparency to the forefront.

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