Police departments reconsider body camera purchases

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Tampa, St. Petersburg holding off on big purchases as coronavirus crisis persists.

Two of Florida’s largest police departments said they would delay buying body cameras because of financial concerns spawned by the coronavirus outbreak.

Tampa police said that it would put on hold the purchase of more than 600 cameras that were supposed to have been acquired by the end of the year, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

Across the bay, the St. Petersburg Police Department said that a body camera testing program has been delayed indefinitely, which in turn is postponing a decision by Police Chief to seek funding for hundreds of cameras.

The city of Tampa had already signed a five-year, $5 million contract to purchase more than 600 blue-tooth activated cameras that would have been distributed by the end of the year to every uniformed officer through the rank of corporal.

Of that cost, about $1 million would have come from this year’s budget, Police Chief Brian Dugan said.

However, the department is proceeding with a $500,000 purchase of Tasers.

Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan said the body cameras builds trust with the community, but could not justify the spending amid the economic slowdown.

The delays are the latest setbacks in a region where large law enforcement agencies have lagged behind much of the state and country in outfitting their personnel with cameras.

The coronavirus pandemic has city officials worried that revenue sources such as property and sales taxes will take a hit, so the city is scrutinizing every expenditure, said Dennis Rogero, the city’s chief financial officer.

Dugan said the city will probably revisit the decision in September, when officials have a better idea of the city’s financial situation.

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Republished with permission from The Associated Press.

Associated Press


4 comments

  • Larry Gillis, Cape Coral

    April 26, 2020 at 10:22 am

    We need those cameras. Find a million bucks in the overtime account, or up the rate you charge for paid details, but do not stop the purchase of those cameras.

    Telling street thugs that they are on camera really slows them down, and also keeps cops’ guns in their holsters.

    What’s not to like?

    Larry Gillis, Libertarian

  • John Kociuba

    April 26, 2020 at 1:52 pm

    I’m with police on this issue! Police don’t need body cameras! Police need COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT!

    Police are out everyday seeing the worst of us! Betrayed by Hollywood propaganda! Betrayed by SOCIAL JUSTICE COMMUNIST NETWORKS! Betrayed by States Attorneys & Judges!

    BRING BACK THE CHOKE HOLD! DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND THERE’S REAL EVIL IN THE WORLD! EVIL ONLY UNDERSTANDS THE FIST & BOOT!

  • John Kociuba

    April 26, 2020 at 2:02 pm

    Understand the concept of a pencil factory. Taxes purchase cameras. Taxes pay people to watch endless nonsensical videos Taxes pay for damaged cameras. Taxes pay for lawyers to defend police on slightest accusations of nonsense.

    AN ENTIRE SEA OF WASTED MONEY TO WATCH POLICE? NO! FLORIDA IS A PRO GUN STATE! WE LOVE OUR SHERIFF’S AND POLICE! WE PAY TAXES SO POLICE WATCH CRIMINALS NOT TO WATCH POLICE DOING THEIR JOB!

    I could never be a police officer! Never! The bullshit they have to endure from lowlifes and aholes? I’d be slapping the crap out of everyone including some of these pro criminal Commie judges.

  • martin

    April 26, 2020 at 3:32 pm

    Sorry, but police just like doctors, nurses, lawyers and all other “professional” occupations need to be held accountable for bad decisions. Body camera’s are 100% necessary. Cops lie to protect one another. Video doesn’t lie.

    The problem with the police, is that they want to be considered “professional”, however, their training is inbreed, and many departments have no higher a requirement than a GED. Bad cops get fired from one department and next month show up for work at another department.

    Heck yes to body camera’s.

Comments are closed.


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