The Limestone County Commission on Monday will likely renew an agreement for body cameras worn by Sheriff's Office deputies.
Up for consideration is an agreement with Axon to buy 38 or more body cameras at a cost of $699 per camera. Deputy Stephen Young, public information officer for the Sheriff's Office, who attended Wednesday's work session, told commissioners renewing the agreement would provide upgraded cameras that could function better and have longer battery life.
“That's important when we have some deputies working 12-hour shifts,” he said.
Commissioner Jason Black said he was in favor of renewing the agreement and added the cameras “are a blessing for citizens and officers, too.” He referenced the recent shooting in Madison where officers shot and killed a man in the parking lot of a Planet Fitness.
Still images from an officer's body camera showed the victim, Dana Fletcher, was armed with a handgun when officers fired their weapons. Fletcher's family has since asked Attorney General Steve Marshall to investigate the case.
“They're not always tell-all, end-all, do all, but in Madison, it turned out to be very useful and it's a piece of the puzzle,” Young told commissioners.
New banking agreement
District 4 Commissioner Ben Harrison asked his fellow commissioners to consider soliciting bids for new banking services. He said Limestone County is receiving only five basis points in interest from the roughly $16 million it has in First National Bank. Basis points are the measure of interest used by banks.
Harrison said he feels it would be worth the county's time and money to talk to other banks. He believes the county is missing out on at least $150,000 or more per year, which he said could be used for road repairs.
“We're not getting any return on our money,” he said. “I think we need to move on this pretty quick and find out what features we want.”
Harrison's numbers could not be verified Wednesday because County Finance Director Emily Ezzell was unavailable.
Harrison said those features should include borrowing capabilities for county vehicles or other equipment. He also doesn't want to change banks every year, but he believes the commission should shop around.
Black said he was in favor of looking at other options, but added First National may be willing to match what another bank may offer.
Harrison pleaded with residents to stop piling sticks and leaves in ditches. He and District 1 Commissioner Daryl Sammet said their crews had been busy repairing road washouts and clearing drains after recent rains.
“There's no way we can clear all the drains before a big rain,” Harrison said. “The leaves and sticks create a dam and it washes out the road, and then people wonder why the road is washed out. We know where our major problems are, but we need a little help. Don't pile leaves and sticks in the ditch.”
During Black's closing comments, he asked that drivers use caution on county roads during the Thanksgiving travel period, which runs through midnight Sunday.
“This is a very busy time of the year, and statistics show we're going to have some accidents on some of the roads we're responsible for,” he said. “I just want to make sure everybody knows to drive carefully.”
He also asked his fellow commissioners to consider making Monday, Dec. 23, a county holiday because he predicted many county employees would take that day off since Christmas Eve falls on Tuesday and Christmas Day falls on Wednesday.
“I more than likely won't have any (employees) there on the 23rd,” he said.
The commission will meet again at 10 a.m. Monday at the Clinton Street Courthouse Annex.