New York State Attorney General Barbara Underwood has awarded $69,776 to the Ulster County Sheriff's Office for the purchase of 80 body-worn cameras for the department.  The cameras will be used by both road patrol deputies and county jail corrections officers.

The grant is a portion of over $1 million awarded to 13 law enforcement agencies across New York State to create and expand body-worn camera programs. Through the Attorney General’s CAMS (Capture an Account of a Material Situation) program – which was launched in July 2018 and is funded with money recovered from organized crime takedowns by the Attorney General’s office – local law enforcement agencies around the state will be able to purchase 959 body-worn cameras, 258 body-worn camera systems (which include cameras and other components, such as storage and/or accessories), and numerous body-worn camera accessories, such as docking stations and mount clips. Body-worn cameras create independent accounts of encounters between police and the public, increasing transparency and accountability and often providing critical evidence in investigations.

In addition to funds provided through the CAMS program, local law-enforcement agencies applying for the grant are responsible for securing a 25% funding match. The match helps increase the scope of the overall body-worn camera program.

Ulster County Sheriff Paul Van Blarcum who will be leaving his position at the end of December said, “The use of Body Worn Cameras (BWC) is an effective tool that the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office has deployed to demonstrate our commitment to transparency and accountability, increase the public trust, provide valuable evidence for prosecution, and protect our members from unjustified claims of misconduct. However, this program creates a great financial burden. The Office of the New York State Attorney General has awarded our agency approximately $70,000 of monetary aid to help offset the cost of this valuable technology. We value this continued support from the Attorney General and our state law enforcement partners.”