CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Body-worn cameras are being issued this week to deputies with the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office.

Training was held Wednesday morning in Charleston where deputies within the patrol division got to learn how to operate the cameras.

Chief Deputy Joe Crawford said the department is using the Axon My90 Program which includes tasers and other features that will protect the public.

“It bundles everything together. Your in-car camera, your body-worn camera, your taser, your weapon and based on policies, there’s going to be different triggers that activates those devices,” he told reporters.

Kanawha County Chief Deputy Joe Crawford explains how the body cameras will work to members of the media Wednesday. Carrie Hodousek/MetroNews

Last month, the Kanawha County Commission approved the use of body and dash cameras. The project with Axon is a 5-year contract worth $2.9 million.

Surrounding counties and municipalities such as the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and the Charleston Police Department already use body cameras. Crawford said it’s about time the most populated county in West Virginia does the same.

“This is not cheap,” he said. “We didn’t get a lot of grant funding for this project, but the County Commission believed in this project.”

The goal is to increase transparency while deputies are patrolling the streets, Crawford said.

“The evidentiary piece is very important. I think it helps us deliver a better product to the Prosecutor’s Office. It shows transparency but it’s also officer safety as well,” he said.

Crawford said the body cameras also allow the department to hold themselves accountable and re-evaluate their actions.

“It shows us where we need to concentrate our efforts on training. In some of the areas, hey we need to improve on this or we need to improve on how we approach a scene or how we engage with the public,” he said.

The cameras could also serve as a deterrent since the footage will show what a person did or did not do.

“I think it is a deterrent. It’s like hey, they’re recording, I can’t allege something they didn’t do. I think with that component of that, I really think it helps in that aspect,” Crawford said.

The department is also rolling out a community survey through Axon My90 where residents can give feedback.

Dash cameras will be rolled out sometime next month.