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Leesburg PD could join increasing number of Lake County law enforcement agencies with body cameras

WatchGuard V300 body camera by Motorola. Image: Motorola via city of Leesburg


The Leesburg Police Department could be joining the growing number of law enforcement agencies in Lake County and around Florida with officers wearing body cameras.

The City Commission will tackle the issue Monday evening.

In recent months, officers in Clermont and Tavares started wearing cameras. So have deputies with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.

The goal is accountability, transparency and a source of impartial evidence.

Five years ago, only 35%of Florida police departments and 30% of sheriff’s offices used the cameras, according to FDLE data.

In 2020, half the agencies had them.

Leesburg City Manager Al Minner says commissioners debated the cameras last year — but put them off in hopes of federal funds.

“I think ultimately there will be a requirement that a modernized, diversified, well-trained, professional police department will ultimately use body cams,” he said.

Overall, using the cameras will cost about $165,000 a year.

They’re back on the agenda at the request of Mayor John Christian. 

“You know,” Christian said, “in this climate that we’re in — and (for) the advancement of law enforcement — body cameras protect law enforcement officers as well as the residents, protect them from unwarranted claims and also keeps everyone, you know, on their toes.”

 


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Joe Byrnes

About Joe Byrnes

Reporter

Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.

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