Hillsborough Sheriff Unveils Body Cameras in Tampa
On August 17, 2020, the Hillsborough County Sheriff unveiled new body-worn cameras that will be worn and utilized by uniformed patrol Deputies as well as other units within the Department. Body worn cameras offer the potential to provide transparency in policing and are often utilized as evidence within criminal investigations against suspects, as well as investigations against law enforcement officers.
As a criminal defense attorney in practice for over sixteen years, I recall when no departments utilized body worn cameras. Instead, a certain limited number of patrol cars had dash cam footage that was not always reliable and did not always capture relevant portions of an interaction. Now, body worn cameras are much more common in jurisdictions around the country. They have proven very useful in the defense of certain criminal charges and generally portray the scene when utilized properly. However, there are downsides with body worn cameras that are not always considered. First, they do not capture everything and do not capture every angle or perspective. They obviously do not capture footage from before or after their activation either. Further, there are times when they malfunction or the footage is not secured for one reason or another. Finally, since they do not capture every perspective, the footage can be surprisingly misleading in certain circumstances. It should also be noted that body worn cameras provide footage that is often broadcast publicly for reasons that have little or nothing to do with criminal justice and instead are utilized to essentially entertain viewers. For more information regarding the impact of the Surveillance of Crime and Digital Evidence, click here.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff announced today that the cameras being employed will automatically activate when overhead lights are activated and also if weapons are drawn. Further, they will enable law enforcement to remotely view the camera footage live in order to assess situations and provide assistance. Standard operating procedures will be employed. The footage should be remotely uploaded to the cloud and by September of 2020 all uniform-patrol deputies should be utilizing the cameras as well as courthouse security deputies and other units.
Overall, the use of body worn cameras should provide for greater transparency and accountability within the criminal justice system. If you have questions regarding a Hillsborough County criminal case, or need to speak with TampaCriminal Attorney Ron Frey, please contact The Frey Law Firm, LLC today for a free initial consultation.
The Frey Law Firm’s primary office is near the courthouse in Tampa, Florida and Tampa Attorney Ron Frey represents clients charged with misdemeanor and felony offenses in Hillsborough County, Tampa and beyond.