Loudoun Sheriff Asks for Drone, More Body Cameras

A Lockheed-Martin Indago drone. (Lockheed-Martin)

A Lockheed-Martin Indago drone. (Lockheed-Martin)

Sheriff Mike Chapman is asking for money to purchase an unmanned aerial vehicle and more body cameras as supervisors begin evaluating the needs for the next budget cycle.

The Sheriff’s Office launched a pilot program last fall with 42 body-worn cameras assigned to patrol, traffic and correctional deputies. This year, the sheriff wants to add 77 cameras, toward an eventual goal of 350 in fiscal year 2019.

“When it comes to serving your community, trust is obviously a big factor in law enforcement,” Chapman told the board’s finance committee. “You see a story every day where that trust has been violated, and we’re trying to make sure we have that transparency and the ability to provide that actual footage.”

However, Chapman said he does not believe all footage would be open to disclosure under Freedom of Information Act requests.

“Certainly, if we had some sort of internal incident that didn’t rise to the level of a criminal incident, we wanted to review it internally, that would not be subject to FOIA if we were doing that,” Chapman said. “Or if we wanted to use it for some sort of training purposes or procedural evaluations on how we’re handling ourselves out there.”

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