New Cobb sheriff says vehicles will soon have cameras

Cobb Sheriff Craig Owens holds up his letter ending Cobb County's participation in the Federal 287(G) Program during a press conference on Tuesday, January 19, 2021, at the Cobb County Sheriff's Office in Marietta, Georgia. The Federal 287(G) Program was a collaboration between the sheriff's department and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).  CHRISTINA MATACOTTA FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION

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Cobb Sheriff Craig Owens holds up his letter ending Cobb County's participation in the Federal 287(G) Program during a press conference on Tuesday, January 19, 2021, at the Cobb County Sheriff's Office in Marietta, Georgia. The Federal 287(G) Program was a collaboration between the sheriff's department and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). CHRISTINA MATACOTTA FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION

Cobb County Sheriff Craig Owens told a group of residents Tuesday evening that his department’s vehicles will soon be equipped with video cameras to document interactions with the public.

Owens defeated longtime incumbent Neil Warren in November and was one of several Democrats to successfully challenge a GOP candidate in a county that has been a Republican stronghold.

Owens held a town hall meeting Tuesday to provide an update on his first 100 days in office and announced that the sheriff’s department planned to upgrade its body camera technology and to equip vehicles with cameras.

The sheriff’s department manages the county jail, conducts white collar and other criminal investigations, provides security at the county courthouse and enforces judicial orders, such as evictions. Sheriff’s deputies have the authority to conduct traffic stops, but the department typically defers to other county agencies in Cobb to enforce traffic laws.

Still, Owens said it was “totally wrong” for the department’s vehicles to lack cameras.

“If our deputies make traffic stops, it will be recorded,” Owens said.