Thursday, July 07, 2022

Putnam County Sheriff's Office to utilize body worn cameras. (First Coast News)

My mentor friend Stetson Kennedy's widow, former St. Augustine City Commissioner Sandra Parks, Ph.D.,  says "a budget is a moral document."  

By that measure, the proposed Fiscal Year 2023 St. Johns County budget is an immoral document.  

Not one thin dime in Sheriff ROBERT HARDWICK's proposed $103 million budget for body worn cameras or dashboard cameras.  

Wonder why?  

Disgraced ex-Sheriff DAVID BERNARD SHOAR's unctuous 2016 ukase, rejecting the "false narrative" that cops need to be watched.  

As the Roman satirist Juvenal asked, "Who guards the guardians?"

We have an Inspector General with no jurisdiction over the Sheriff or four other constitutional officers, with only one (1) full-time employee.

Accountability is nearly non-existent,

Since our County squires demands an up or down vote on a 15% sales tax increase, to bring in $600 million -- relieving wealthy developers from fair property taxes and impact fees -- you know what to do.

Vote no on sales tax increase.

In neighboring counties, body worn cameras and dashboard cameras are becoming de rigeur.  Here, they are  dismissed out of hand by our political Sheriff, ROBERT HARDWICK.

What does he have to hide?

Police misconduct in a place where JEREMY BANKS is still wearing a badge and carrying a gun.  Wonder why?

Putnam County Sheriff's Office to utilize body worn cameras

Members of PCSO are currently testing body cameras that will likely eventually be part of the uniform for every deputy.

PALATKA, Fla. — It's a form of technology that will bring the Putnam County Sheriff's Office the latest methods of law enforcement.  

Right now, members of the department are testing body worn cameras to add to their uniform.

The look of a fully uniformed deputy of the Putnam County Sheriff's Office includes a gun, a badge, a radio and now a body camera.

Col. Joseph Wells with the Putnam County Sheriff's Office says that the department is currently testing the Axon Body Camera System. If this trial goes well, it will be phased in as part of the regular gear for the deputies; and it's placed in the center of the deputy's chest.

"We've taken good care to make sure it's in a position where if they have to bring their arm in front of them that they won't block it," says Wells.

Deputy Colt Wade is currently testing the body camera and says the benefits go beyond comfort.

"From my experience I do enjoy it," says Wade, "it's very easy to look back from small details in stressful situations that you might not recall playing back in your mind."

"It provides a level of transparency for the community," says Wells, "it's also going to provide the community with a first-hand view of the amazing and heroic work that our deputies do every day."

Deputies can also upload the footage from their camera right into the laptops in their patrol cars. As far as the view of the footage from the body cameras, effectively everything the deputy sees will be recorded.

"It is a huge advance," says Wells, "it's one that in the early parts of my career was unfathomable, it was unheard of."

Currently, PCSO is in the process of testing the cameras.  There is a second version of a different manufacturer's camera that may be tested if results of the Axon test are not satisfactory.  PCSO says that their ultimate goal is to have every uniformed deputy wearing a camera as part of their regular equipment.

RELATED: NCSO asks residents to take part in body cam survey

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