Sheriff uses own money to purchase security cameras from Costco for jail after govt stalls process

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. -- Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith went on a Costco shopping spree Wednesday, not to buy food or household supplies. Instead, Smith purchased security cameras for her embattled jail.

The sheriff used her own credit card to buy $700 worth of security cameras and she insists this is not a publicity stunt.

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Workers at the Santa Clara County Jail are installing new security cameras, a dozen of them bought at Costco for about $60 each.

Smith says she bought them herself, after she learned that the county's plan for a $20 million system is going to take two years.

"If there are allegations made against a staff member, we'll be able to see it. If there's an assault against a staff member, we'll be able to see it and have evidence for court," said Smith. "It's something we should have done all along and I wanted it done now."

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The new cameras come four months after the beating death of inmate Michael Tyree. Three correctional deputies are accused of his murder.

The cameras are being installed in only one housing area, but if it works out well, the sheriff plans to buy more.

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"We'll have captains and lieutenants who can perhaps view this, and it's an interim solution because it's not a $20 million solution. It's $700 for this pod here, but I think it's going to be really adequate. I think it's going to be really good."

The sheriff did not get any assurances before buying the cameras, but she is hoping the county will reimburse her.
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