Alabama sheriff's office to test body cameras in early 2018

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) -- The sheriff's office serving Alabama's largest county by population will begin testing body cameras for deputies next year.

AL.com reports Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale announced Wednesday that the body cameras will be deployed to 50 deputies from a variety of divisions in early 2018. The sheriff's office has entered into an agreement with Axon for a field test and evaluation program for the latest technology in body cameras.

During the no-cost testing phase, authorities will study equipment durability, ease of use, maintenance and data storage costs.

Hale said the department hasn't used body cameras before, preferring to wait until the technology improved.

The sheriff's office says the body camera program will be scaled to patrol deputies first, if they're satisfied with the technology. There are more than 500 deputies.