Key West police officers this week started wearing body cameras on the fronts of their uniforms, Chief Donie Lee said. The cameras clip on and are easily switched on to record incidents and encounters.
He said that "for more than two years, the department has been exploring this additional public safety tool. At first, the video quality was just not worth the investment of time and money. Technology has improved, however, and the Monroe County Sheriff's Office bought cameras for every officer in the Key West Police Department. The cameras are the same make as the in-car cameras already used by the KWPD, which means that uploading and data storage is streamlined."
In February, the Monroe County Sheriff's Office gave 100 Vievu LE3 body cameras to Key West police. The money came from the fine and forfeiture fund.
"I expect these cameras will bring better accountability on both sides of the lens," Lee said. "But we have to remember that this is a tool. There won't always be video of every encounter. These cameras are another tool in our toolbox that, used together, will help us provide the best service we can to the community."
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He said the department tried to address as many issues as can be foretold with a new tool. There are issues of privacy for the people in front of the camera. The cameras could come loose during a scuffle or not capture the brunt of an incident. But ideally, they provide another way for police to capture the facts when an incident is unfolding in front of them.