St. Petersburg Police Chief Says He is Prepared to Equip His Officers with Body Cameras Sometime This Year

Feb 27, 2020 1:05 AM ET

Many police departments in the state of Florida have opted to purchase body cameras for their officers but the St. Petersburg Police Department isn’t one of them—yet. While Police Chief Tony Holloway has expressed interest in bringing in body cameras for several years, no action has been taken. However, the Tampa Bay Times recently reported that this might be the year that all officers on Holloway’s force may be equipped with a body camera.

Holloway told the Tampa Bay Times that “he supports equipping St. Petersburg’s 450 uniformed officers with body cameras,” and will be taking part in a pilot program soon. He says that if the pilot program is successful, he will ask Mayor Rick Kriseman and the City Council to fund the technology, according to the news source. Holloway has confirmed that this is going to be the year his department gets body cameras for its officers. He told the source, “We’ve been beating this up enough now, so let’s just roll it out.”

The Chief of Police told the source that he prefers a brand called BodyWorn, which differs from the traditional body cameras that are being used. Unlike most body cams that constantly record and save the video, the cameras he wishes to purchase “would only start saving video when an officer pulls out their firearm or Taser, plus up to two minutes prior to that point.” In the event Holloway decides to bring in body cameras in 2020, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office and the Clearwater Police Department would be the only two large law enforcement agencies left in the area that are still in opposition of body cameras.

Police Body Cams Often Serve as Crucial Pieces of Evidence in Police Brutality Cases

Police body-worn cameras (BWCs) “can be highly effective resources, providing an unalterable audio and visual record of interactions that capture empirical evidence in the event of a crime, police-citizen interaction, or use-of-force incident,” according to the Bureau of Justice Assistance U.S. Department of Justice. When an incident transpires between a civilian and an officer that results in a person filing a police misconduct complaint, the footage obtained from a police body cam can confirm whether the claims that were made are valid.

There have been multiple incidents that have transpired in the past where footage captured on a police body cam helped prove an officer in question was guilty of misconduct. Without body cam footage to prove an officer applied excessive force or engaged in another act of misconduct, it often becomes their word against the victims—and sadly the officer sometimes gets to walk away without facing any repercussions for their actions.

Now, although body cams have helped many victims of police brutality prove they were victimized by an officer, that isn’t the only way to recognize an officer for misconduct. You also have St. Petersburg, FL police brutality lawyers such as those at Karikas & Kasaris, P.A. who can help you. If you have been harmed or injured by a St. Petersburg, FL police officer and you wish to explore the ways you can hold him/her accountable, contact Karikas & Kasaris, P.A. at 727-323-4533 now.

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