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Suncoast: Body Worn Cameras, Priority for CCSO – Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office
A letter from Sheriff Bill Prummell:
As a result of recent meetings and subsequent dialogue related to body-worn cameras, we went to work on the process of researching and evaluating the process of procurement. So far, we have met with and had presentations by all the major vendors in the industry. As a result of the presentations and evaluations of their products, we were able to narrow it down and are currently looking to test two different systems in order to make sure we choose the best option for our operations and the community we serve.
As Sheriff, I understand there are those who wanted this done yesterday but, this is a big investment and one we need to be certain will provide the desired benefits for all. Be assured, we are taking into consideration all aspects of law enforcement, detention, privacy rights, liability, financial responsibilities, and the transparency we all strive for.
I have recently heard that some believe that I will not be moving forward on body worn cameras (BWC) because it was not in my submitted budget to the county. Regarding the budget and its regulations, our yearly budget for the Sheriff’s Office is required by statute to be submitted to the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) by June 1st of each year. The discussion on BWCs did not happen until after this date. Therefore, the body cameras were not able to be submitted during the normal budget process.
However, on July 22nd I attended the budget workshop with the County Commissioners. I provided them an update and estimated costs. They each have committed to reviewing the purchase of a body-worn camera system. Once we have all the information we need to move forward, we would amend our budget to include the proper funding.
In closing, I am acutely aware of the desire to implement body-worn cameras for our deputies. This is a priority for the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office and progress is being made as judiciously as possible.