Sarasota city commissioners hear presentation on new body cameras for police department

Sarasota city commissioners hear presentation on new body cameras for police department
Body cam presentation in front of Sarasota city commission. (Source: WWSB)

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - City commissioners quizzed police Monday as the Sarasota Police Department prepares to begin using body cameras.

“I know there were some questions about how you trigger them, when do they come on, how much does it record,” said Jen Ahearn-Koch, a commissioner for the city of Sarasota. “Is it video or audio; storage, and storage information, how much that costs; the laws are evolving all the time about redaction.”

“The body cameras are very important,” said Commissioner Kyle Battie. “They provide transparency and accountability both for the police and for those they are policing, so it’s imperative that we have them.”

The police department will have 122 of Axon 3 body cameras and officers are being trained on them. This $3 million, five-year program will also include Tasers that use the same software package as the cameras.

“They’re called the Taser 7 and they have the automation trigger built-in,” said one member with the bodycam program group. “They tie in with these cameras, they’re part of the overall program.”

Many members of the community say these body cameras couldn’t come soon enough.

“Absolutely necessary, absolutely relevant,” said Carleton Daniels, a Sarasota resident. “It should definitely be policed by the police in assuring that we have success for our community.”

On Wednesday, Sarasota Police will be allowing the media to have an up-close and personal look at these body cameras. It’s not yet known exactly when officers will have them, but ABC7 is being told it will be very soon.

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