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No more big brother! Washington Sheriff turns off black boxes inside patrol vehicles

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A Washington Sheriff is giving his deputies one less thing to worry about. Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney announced he’s turned off all of the “black boxes” from his department’s vehicles and that he let the contract expire with the company on New Year’s Day.

According to The Everett Herald, telemetrics system was installed by the previous sheriff in 2017, who Fortney beat out.

It was designed to capture information, like vehicle location, direction, speed, braking, emergency light usage, and seat belts. The idea that the information would be used for training and to cut back on deputy-related crashes and accidents.

Sheriff Fortney said the system was a fine idea, but that it gave deputies a “Big Brother” feeling. He said he trusts his deputies to do the right thing, without the oversight, They go through the academy. We give them a badge and gun and … they have the authority to take people’s liberties away, which is a huge deal for me. I am going to trust them to drive their car.”

The system cost the Sheriff’s Office about $12,000 a month to monitor all 219 vehicles.



That money will now go to new jumpsuits and other equipment the sheriff says his staff needs.

Between 2007 and 2016, nearly 40 percent of officer deaths were the result of crashes, second only to gun violence, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

This Sheriff’s Office dealt with a major lawsuit after deputy John Sadro ran a stop sign, slammed into a pickup truck, which pinned a construction worker between the two. That worker lost his legs in the April 2015 accident and sued the Sheriff’s Office. The county settled for $14.3 million, and the deputy pleaded guilty to multiple counts.

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