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Body Cams, Wildlife Officer Positions Among FWC's 2018 Legislative Budget Requests

Dec 19, 2017
Originally published on December 18, 2017 5:41 pm

As law enforcement agencies across Florida consider using body cameras, the state’s wildlife officers are following suit.

Body Cameras

After looking at preliminary research of other law enforcement agencies using body cameras and using it themselves, Charlotte Jerrett says her agency sees the benefits of the cameras. She’s the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Chief Financial Officer.

“The Division of law enforcement just finished a pilot program for body warn cameras and they’re ready to bring this initiative forth,” she said. “This would provide for about 800 cameras in our force. They had a really good success story with that program.”

The total funding request is more than 735,000. About half would come from the Marine Resources Conservation Trust Fund. The rest would come from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund.

Wildlife Officer positions

Florida’s wildlife agency is asking the legislature for 5 and a half million dollars to fund law enforcement patrol and support positions. With an increase in attendance over the years, these employees will help patrol Florida’s state parks.

“We have not asked for any new positions in 12 years,” Jerrett added. “So, these 25 FTE [Full Time Employees] for enhanced law enforcement patrol, those would be 23 officers and two dispatchers and those would be in areas of greatest need. A lot of those would be in our coastal counties.”

Despite the ask, in a legislative budget exercise to look at areas to cut, the FWC pinpoints 61 officer positions. That could save the state millions. But, the wildlife agency claims doing so will create a huge hindrance in the ability to do its job.

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