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Bobby Webre

Ascension Parish Sheriff Bobby Webre plans to make an announcement Wednesday afternoon about the implementation of deputy body cameras, his office said.

Webre told the Donaldsonville City Council Tuesday night that deputies will receive cameras in the first quarter of 2021, the Donaldsonville Chief reported.

On Wednesday, the Sheriff's Office said that Webre planned to discuss his plans for the cameras with the media at 3 p.m.

During his run for office last year, Webre, a former chief deputy and top lieutenant of former Sheriff Jeff Wiley, had said that he would consider the implementation of the cameras if elected as other departments in the state and around the country have put them on deputies and officers.

Webre is expected to make the decision as video footage of officers in action, often by the general public, have proven pivotal in disputes in Baton Rouge and other parts of the country over police enforcement and helped fueled outrage over deadly police encounters with the public, in particular, with Black people and other minorities. 

Cellphone video of two Baton Rouge Police officers engaged a struggle to handcuff Alton Sterling on the ground outside the Triple S Food Mart off North Foster Drive more than four years ago helped drive public outrage and days of protests.

Officer body cameras often provide another angle and longer look at incidents than what can be recorded by the public. 

Webre made the body camera announcement Tuesday during a comments to the Donaldsonville City Council Tuesday night, the newspaper reported.

The V300 model Motorola brand system that the Sheriff's Office plans to buy will cost an estimated $500,000 to implement parishwide, the paper said.

Two cellphone videos taken by bystanders captured the graphic conclusion of the roughly 90-second encounter between Sterling and the Baton Rouge officers on July 5, 2016.

Former Officer Blane Salamoni can be heard yelling "gun" in the brief video clips just before he shoots Sterling six times while Sterling was being restrained on the ground.

Lake retrieved a loaded .38-caliber revolver from Sterling's pocket just after the shooting and both officers told investigators they thought Sterling was reaching for the weapon, federal authorities have said.

Salamoni and Officer Howie Lake II had responded to an anonymous 911 caller who claimed a man matching Sterling's description threatened him with a gun outside the Triple S, authorities have said.

Sterling, 37, was Black. Salamoni and Lake are White. 

Federal and state prosecutors determined there wasn't sufficient evidence to bring charges against Salamoni and Lake, but the shooting has set off civil litigation. Video of the incident has played an important role in establishing what happened.


Email David J. Mitchell at dmitchell@theadvocate.com

Follow David J. Mitchell on Twitter, @NewsieDave.