Clermont Police Department Equips Officers with Body Cameras
CLERMONT (Dec. 18, 2020) – The Clermont Police Department recently rolled out a new body camera program.
Clermont Police outfitted 55 officers and sergeants in the patrol, traffic and community policing units this month.
“Body cameras bolster accountability, promote transparency and provide an impartial eyewitness,” Police Chief Charles Broadway said. “They provide evidence that can be used in official proceedings.”
Council Member Jim Purvis and late former Council Member Ray Goodgame played a significant role in initiating the effort. With officers’ and the community’s best interest in mind, Purvis and Goodgame petitioned the city to look into getting the cameras in 2017.
“At the time, the cost to store the video footage was a deterrent, but the technology has since changed and advanced,” Purvis said.
Body cameras have become more affordable, and footage can now be stored in the cloud (a remote physical location accessed via internet), as opposed to needing to be stored on a hard drive. Purvis said the cameras are a smart investment for the city.
“The body cameras prove their worth in protecting the police department and community,” Purvis said. “I’m glad to see them being implemented.”
Studies have found that body cameras reduce complaints and false claims, enhance public trust, support transparency, improve the behavior of all parties involved and keep everyone accountable.
After years of research and an extensive evaluation period with several vendors, Clermont Police chose the BodyWorn platform provided by Utility Associates, Inc.
One of the deciding factors was a feature the company calls BodyWorn Down. If an officer falls to the ground and may need backup, BodyWorn starts an automatic recording, alerts all nearby officers, and sends a call-for-help message to units that includes the officer's GPS coordinates.
“This feature provides even more safety for our officers,” said Capt. John Graczyk, who led the search for the best vendor.
The cameras were partially funded with proceeds from seizures that Clermont Police conducted as part of specialized task force missions, primarily for narcotics.
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