Dear Chatham Families,
This letter is to notify you of a new practice related to our School Resource Deputy (“SRD”) from the Columbia County Sheriff’s Department. Effective immediately, Deputy VanAlstyne, and any other SRD who may be assigned to our schools, will be wearing a body camera while on campus in accordance with the Department’s new body camera policy. This change has been initiated by the Department as the result of recent Police Reform Committee meetings. The body cameras are intended for general law enforcement needs outside of school; however, as a Deputy in the Columbia County Sheriff’s Department, Deputy VanAlstyne or another SRD is required to wear one while on duty.
The purpose of body cameras is to monitor police activity, not spy on students or employees. The body camera will be turned off most of the time and will be activated by Deputy VanAlstyne or another SRD only if there is an incident in which law enforcement action is involved. Examples of situations in which Deputy VanAlstyne or another SRD may need to switch on their body camera include a physical altercation between students/staff or while investigating an incident such as a potential threat or illegal activity on campus.
In the event the SRD’s body camera is activated, the video recording would be retained by the Columbia County Sheriff’s Department in a secure cloud server. The video recordings will not be retained by the District, except that the District may request a copy when needed as an education record.
Thank you for your continued support of our school security measures.