Alachua County Sheriff to adorn Body worn cameras

Alachua County Sheriff to adorn Body worn cameras

ASO isn’t the only law enforcement agency in the county to not have body cams but it is the biggest. Video of arrests and police use of force, including from cameras worn by officers, has been pivotal in high-profile cases nationally, including the conviction this week of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd in Minnesota.

The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office will soon be in the modern age with body-worn cameras on the way.

An ASO officer shot a man last week after being called to a domestic dispute. He survived, but a woman who witnessed the encounter described it differently from the deputy’s account — although there is no body-cam video to document the event.

Money for a system has been the issue, but spokesman Art Forgey said the agency now has the cash.

“We have just received funding from the county for body cameras,” Forgey said in an email. “The 5 companies that have been identified as potential (suppliers) will be meeting here at the Sheriff’s Office in early May to demonstrate their products. A vendor will then be selected and we will purchase the body cameras. In the meantime, staff will be writing policy for their use.”

Forgey said in a later interview that Sheriff Clovis Watson is “100% committed to getting it done, and the sooner the better.”

The Alachua County Commission allocated $500,000 for a body camera system, Forgey said.

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