Gainesville approves purchase of new police body cameras

The multi-million dollar budget will provide 318 cameras to police officers and service technicians
Published: Aug. 6, 2020 at 4:48 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - At a cost of more than $3.2 million dollars, Gainesville police officers and police service technicians are getting an upgrade to a gadget in their gear.

"I understand that there are valid arguments both for wearing them and not wearing them," said Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe.

Commissioners voted 5-2 to approve the contract with Axon Enterprises. 318 body worn cameras will remove the possibility of failing to capture video evidence.

Poe added, "I'm simply trying to look at what's in the best interest of our neighbors so they receive great service and that there's a level of accountability. And that we make sure that we have the best quality evidence possible."

Commissioners David Arreola and Gail Johnson were in dissent, citing the high cost over a five year period as a concern.

Johnson added, "I absolutely believe that we should have body cameras for our patrol unit, for our SWAT units and for our K9 units. But I can't see us especially in this kind of, with the financial instability that we are going to continue experiencing."

For each the next five years, the body camera bill is more than $600,000. A motion to delay the decision was brought up but failed to pass.

Johnson added, “But I definitely don’t think that we should be thinking about adding anything unless absolutely necessary and in my estimation, it’s not absolutely necessary.”

More than 100 outdated body cameras will be returned and go towards a credit once the new purchase is made. The majority of the body camera bill covers uploading footage for evidence storage and public records requests.

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