The Sebastian Police Department will soon be the first in Indian River County to implement body cameras. The change won't go into effect until October and at first, will only include 3 cameras, but the department believes within 5 years all of its officers will wear one.
"So it was perfect for us because we weren't going to have to come up with a lot of money up front," said Sebastian Police Chief Michelle Morris.
Chief Morris said body cameras is something the department had been eyeing for several years but was originally quoted a $40,000 price tag. However, when I-COP recently announced an affordable alternative that would only cost 1/3 of the price she knew it was something they couldn't walk away from.
"Plus we are going to stagger it every year. When we get new patrol cars we will add it with those and those police cars as long as the budget gets approved," said Morris.
The city council has given the department the green light for 3 cameras to roll out in the 2017-2018 fiscal year. Each camera will cost between $300 and $500. The goal is to have all 25 officers on the road equipped with one by 2023. Chief Morris believes with a low price tag, getting the city council's approval won't be an issue in the future.
"So I think that it is there to protect our officers as well as the public and it will hold us accountable to make sure we are doing what we are supposed to be doing," said Morris.
Thanks to its current technology called I-COP the department will be able to use an already existing server as the hub for all of its dash camera video, as well as body camera video. The department plans to store all footage for up to 90 days, and of course longer if being used as evidence in a specific case.