It was the body-camera footage showing a bloody arrest at a Bills' tailgate last December at the hands of an Erie County Sheriff Deputy that has sparked strong reaction from county officials.
A spokesperson for the Erie County Sheriff's Office said no decision has been made on whether to resume the program. No money has been allocated towards the program in the 2019 County Budget either.
Erie County Executive Mark Polancarz weighed in on Twitter saying:
If any sheriff's deputy lies to create an evidentiary premise for an arrest they should not be wearing a badge representing the people of our county. A full, open investigation into this matter should commence and I support the DA's actions.
— Mark Poloncarz (@markpoloncarz) December 4, 2018
As for body cameras in general, several Erie County Legislators agree body cameras are a good idea for any law enforcement agency.
Legislator Joseph Lorigo saying, "Anything that increases transparency and accountability for the Sheriff's Office or anyone in law enforcement, I think, it's a good thing."
Fellow Legislator Pat Burke agreed taking it a step further adding that the Sheriff's Office needs to invest no matter the cost. "Frankly this needs to happen. These recent incidents show that it needs to happen."
Legislator Lynne Dixon says the decision should be left up to the Sheriff, but is open to the discussion.
Dixon serves on the Public Safety Committee where Legislator April Baskin serves as the Chair.
"For Erie County, I don't think body-cameras will necessarily be a bad thing. However, we do have the responsibility to revisit the cost and make sure the procedure of body cameras is going to be something that is kept up to par," Baskin said.
In 2016, the Sheriff's Office estimated the cost of body cameras for 150 deputies to cost as much as $300,000.