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County snubs state body camera grant

Thursday, May 12, 2016 by Caleb Pritchard

The Travis County Commissioners Court on Tuesday canceled an application for state grant money to fund a body camera pilot program for sheriff’s deputies. The county had reached the second stage of the application process when state officials made the grant money conditional on the county’s submission to federal agents’ requests to detain potentially undocumented immigrants for investigation at the county jail. Sheriff Greg Hamilton currently honors those requests, but that policy could change when he steps down early next year. Constable Sally Hernandez, the Democratic nominee to replace him, campaigned on a pledge to keep federal agents outside of the jail. The grant was worth $128,231, and the county would have been required to kick in a $32,031 match, plus spend another $10,677 to get the state’s pilot program up and running. The county’s cut would have come from a $100,000 earmark set aside last year. That money will now likely go toward fully funding a body camera pilot program developed exclusively by the county.

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