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Sarasota Police To Get Body Cameras

police chief talking to reporters
Sarasota Police Chief Bernadette DiPino discusses the city's decision to buy 122 new body cameras for officers.

The City of Sarasota will purchase 122 body cameras for police officers.

Police officers in the city of Sarasota will begin wearing body cameras next year.
The City Council on Monday unanimously approved spending more than $3.6 million to purchase 122 cameras for the department.

As of last year, Sarasota Police had 176 officers on staff.

Police Chief Bernadette DiPino on Tuesday morning said the cameras will allow people to review an incident after the fact from a variety of perspectives. Knowing the camera is rolling, she says, could also affect how officers and others interact.

"We're hoping that the cameras in and of themselves will actually modify behavior of people, where the officer who is wearing the camera knows that everything they are doing is being captured and they modify their behavior," she said. "But also the citizens will also know that the officer has a camera on them - and they may modify their behavior also."

DiPino said the use of cameras is expected to begin in July 2021. It will take several months to purchase the equipment, and several more to properly train staff to use it.

Sarasota joins the city of St. Petersburg, New Port Richey and other police departments in the greater Tampa Bay region in buying body cameras.

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