LIMA — Two Lima pastors encouraged the Allen County Commissioners on Thursday to consider funding body cameras for the Allen County Sheriff’s Department, citing the racial unrest that has erupted across the U.S. this summer and the need for transparency, which they say can benefit law enforcement too.
“It is simply too good an idea not to do it,” said Doug Boquist, lead pastor of Lima Community Church. “It is the best protection we can give to our sheriff and his deputies.”
Boquist and In Faith Ministries International Pastor Michael Lyons joined the commissioners via conference call on Thursday to champion the idea.
Allen County Commissioner Greg Sneary said the decision rests primarily with Sheriff Matthew Treglia, who previously cited privacy concerns as one reason he was hesitant to equip his deputies with body cameras.
“Those individuals have their own office,” Sneary said. “It’s theirs to run as they see fit.”
Should Treglia ask the commissioners to appropriate funding, Sneary said, the commissioner would consider the request.
But no such request has been made, and the commissioners have not conducted an assessment of the costs associated with body cameras.
Treglia told The Lima News in June that his department has already spent more than $250,000 upgrading in-car and in-house video and audio equipment from previous administrations. And he said at the time that “legislators still have not closed all the loopholes in the body camera public records law that jeopardizes citizens’ most basic right to privacy.” His comments were in response to those of Lima Mayor David Berger, who has called for wider adoption of body cameras in Allen County.
In an email to The Lima News on Thursday, Lyons said he and Boquist look forward to continuing the conversation with Sheriff Treglia and others.