Pinellas County Sheriff Office begins body-worn cameras trial

Thirty Pinellas County Sheriff’s deputies are equipped with body-worn cameras as part of a field trial that began Oct. 28

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri implemented a body-worn camera field trial on Oct. 28. The program will initially outfit 30 deputies from areas throughout the agency that have contact with the public.

According to a press release, the field trial will serve to work through logistics and draft policy, which will lead to the outfitting of more than 800 deputies.

After years of resistance, Gualtieri now says that “technology has exponentially changed for the better.” He also says the public favors the use of body cameras.

The sheriff picked Axon, formerly known as Taser International, to supply the cameras. They will automatically activate when a deputy draws their firearm, turns on their electronic control weapon (TASER), and can also be manually activated by the deputy.

The program will cost approximately $3 million a year for the next five years and will include the body-worn camera, TASER, a new in-car video system and holster activation which will work in conjunction

“Body-worn cameras are something that I absolutely endorse and embrace,” Gualtieri said. “I am listening to our community that overwhelmingly supports and wants these cameras, and I am committed to making that happen.”