HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Hillsborough County commissioners approved full-time body cameras for use by sheriff’s office deputies.
Commissioners voted 6-1 in favor of the measure at their meeting on Wednesday morning.
The cameras will cost between $9 million and $14 million dollars, according to Sheriff Chad Chronister.
“Our county population is exploding, and we’re coming up with good solutions to help build trust in the community,” Chronister said, talking about several measures his office has implemented, including a drug rehab facility in the jail and the “Walk It Like You Talk It” initiative for community policing. “There’s no magic wand, it’s built in every interaction with each citizen.”
Chronister said there is an existing local request for proposal that the sheriff’s office can piggyback off of that will reduce the time to implement the body cameras. He estimates once a contract is signed, his office can start implementing the cameras within 45-60 days.
There was some debate about whether to procure body cameras that only initiate when deputies draw their weapon versus every time they get out of the car.
In the end, most commissioners felt like the “full-time” cameras were the better solution.
Commissioner Stacy White (District 4-Eastern Hillsborough) was the lone “no” vote. White said he had privacy concerns given Florida’s broad public records laws.
Commissioner Pat Kemp (Countywide) pointed out there are quite a few exemptions to public records laws when it comes to body cameras.
Those exemptions in Florida Statutes 119.071(2)(l) exempt as confidential certain body camera recordings, including those taken within the interior of a private residence; health care, mental health or social services facility, or “in a place that a reasonable person would expect to be private.”
This is a developing story. Please check back for further updates.
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