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Sarasota Police to Acquire Body Cameras


The Sarasota City Commission said the Sarasota Police Department can buy body cameras for its officers on Monday.

Spokesperson Genevieve Judge said it will be one of the first in the state to use the technology.

The Department will acquire 24 body cameras.

The cameras cost about $500 each. The department is purchasing the cameras with about $36,000 in federal grant money.

Judge said Sarasota Chief of Police Bernadette DiPino began looking into acquiring the cameras last January.

Now that the cameras are coming, Judge said the department has to figure out protocol including when officers turn on the cameras and how long the department keeps recorded video.

“Our plan is not to sneak up on someone and take video or audio of them not knowing. That’s not our plan at all,” she said. “We just want to hold everyone accountable. And if something does come into question, we’ll have the video evidence to back it up.”

Judge said the department wants officers to place cameras on an angle that best mirrors their point of view such as a baseball cap, vest or sunglasses.

She said DiPino also hopes to hold public, educational forums about the cameras.

Judge said Chief DiPino wants to have the cameras in use for a year-long test period by January at the latest.

Topher is a reporter at WGCU News.