After a nearly year-long testing and evaluation program, Oregon County sheriff’s deputies are now armed with body cameras.

Sheriff Eric King announced the deployment of the body cams to equip deputies with the latest technology.

King said they are considered a valuable evidentiary tool for prosecution of certain types of criminal cases by supplementing deputies’ court testimony with audio and video records of an incident. They will also help in the investigation complaints against deputies.

“I think what we’ll find and what is being seen nationwide is that the overwhelming majority of the time, these cameras show law enforcement officers are doing things right,” King said, “and the few times that doesn’t happen it gives us a great tool for corrective training.”

Deputies received the cameras last month and began training and deployment April 1.

King said proceeds from the Sheriff’s Office calendar and a donation from the Thayer-Mammoth Spring Rotary Club paid the cost associated with equipping deputies with these cameras.

He said sheriff’s officials have been patiently waiting for the technology to improve and the cost to come down before investing in the camera technology. The year-long testing, he said, convinced him it was worth the wait.

“I can’t tell you how excited we are to secure this equipment, there will be immediate benefit and future benefit with unlimited crime fighting potential, ” the sheriff said. “That’s what convinced us now was the right time to get this done.”

“We have a reputation for being ahead of the curve in insuring our personnel are the best-trained and best equipped,” he said. “That reputation has been enhanced with this announcement and the public we serve will be the beneficiary. That’s always our goal.”

“Our community, who sponsored calendar ads and the Thayer-Mammoth Spring Rotary Club believing in this office and in the importance of public safety, provided funding needed,” he said. “I can’t thank them enough for their support in securing this important equipment for our deputies and for the people we serve.”