Hillsborough Deputies Will Now Use Body Cameras Full-Time
The Hillsborough County Board of Commissioners voted Wednesday to expand body camera footage to full-time use within the Sheriff's Office.
Sheriff Chad Chronister said this will create "trust through transparency" within the community.
“I think there's an opportunity to make history,” Chronister said. “There's an outcry for our public, as we know, to be more transparent. And as your sheriff's office, we want to be more transparent."
For less than a year, deputies have been using body cams that triggered only when firearms were drawn. Now, cameras will turn on every time deputies step out of their work vehicles.
Chronister said going to full-time use could cost between $9 million and $14 million more than what is paid now.
The Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners approved the sheriff’s request for funding 6-to-1.
The majority of commissioners thanked him for requesting this move.
Commission Chair Les Miller was one of the affirmative votes.
"In this day and time of what we're going through, not only in this county but across the state and this country, our law enforcement are held to a unbelievable standard,” Miller said. “We in Hillsborough County should be very much wanting transparency by our sheriff's department."
Commissioner Stacy White was the dissenting vote, citing privacy concerns.
"We have Florida's very broad public records laws that could impact innocent, good, law-abiding citizens. I just cannot support full time body cameras for that reason," White said.
Chronister responded to White's concerns, saying there are a lot of exemptions to the laws and his office's policies will reflect that.
Chronister added he would have to create three new positions for redacting, storing and handling public records requests.
He also said deputies could start implementing this new procedure within 45 to 60 days.