Port St. Lucie Police dash cameras not fully functioning, can't be repaired

 PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.-- It's a Dash cam dilemma.

Dozens of Port St. Lucie police cruisers are equipped with dash cams, but they're not all working.

Now, the department is looking into a solution.

Of nearly 150 police patrol vehicles, roughly 50 are equipped with dash cams. But, only 18 are actually working.

The company that sold the cameras to the department several years ago went out of business. That means any needed repairs can't be made.

Sgt. Frank Sabol says the dash cam is like an extra set of eyes on the road. "It kind of brings to light what the officers are going through during the day."

The cameras document traffic stops, arrests, and show the reason behind police action. It gives police evidence.

"You can show the judge, 'look, this was the situation,' " Sabol said. It also gives citizens evidence in court if they say an officer was wrong in their action.

Police fleet coordinator Roberto Mann says Florida heat warped some equipment. Other dash cams are simply out-dated.

It's taking a toll on officers both without, even with a camera.

"The downside is that you'd have to pull another officer from another area to come over and video the traffic stop and the scene," Sabol explained. "There's plenty of [officers] out there that have been like 'you know, I really wish I had a camera to show what happened.' "

Police are looking to buy 28 more cameras by the end of the year. They would be used to replace old cameras, and put cameras in more cruisers.

The units cost anywhere from $4,500 to $5,000 each. Police say they can look into grants, and there is room to purchase more in their budget.

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