Vote approved to fund body cameras in Orange County

Department of Justice grant is $225,000 with match from county

Commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved funding to secure a grant allowing more deputies to be outfitted with body-worn cameras.

The Department of Justice grant is $225,000 with a required cash match of $468,682 from the Orange County Sheriff's Office.

"I think it's overdue, but now is better than later certainly," Mayor Teresa Jacobs said.

Jacobs has been working to get the body cam program fully functioning since 2014.

After an initial delay from Sheriff Jerry Demings, cameras began being implemented in 2015.  To date, 636 cameras have been deployed covering all uniform patrol deputies.

"It's important for building trust and transparency, and also I think it's extremely important for the safety of our law enforcement officers," Jacobs said.

The new cameras will be issued to specialty units, which includes tactical squads, traffic enforcement and mounted patrol.

In addition to providing transparency and accountability, Jacobs said the cameras help show the perspective of deputies intense situations.

"I think there's so much value in the public understanding the situation our deputies and our police officers are in," Jacobs said.

So far, Orange County has paid $601,376 for the body cam program. 

The total five-year contract is budgeted for $3.2 million.

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