Lakeland invests in body cameras for police

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The Lakeland Police Department will finally get body cameras. The City Commission supported a $9.3 million package of equipment and software associated with the cameras.

On Monday the city approved a 10-year contract with Exxon enterprises of Scottsdale, Arizona. Lakeland city staff reached a deal for a flat rate of $938,000 per year. This includes 250 body cameras, which will almost completely outfit the city’s 254. Full-time sworn officers Commissioner Mike Musick says he was previously less than enthusiastic about body cameras until he saw the technology for himself and understood its use.

“As we were talking about the officers that we’ve recently hired a lot from the North, well they’re already used to a lot of these systems anyway,” Musick said. “So I think on the service side, it’ll be good. I was pleased because of the skepticism that I wore coming into this.”

Cameras and VR training for LPD

Along with body cameras, the purchase includes 165 in-car camera systems, 250 tasers, three interview room camera systems, and 10 virtual reality training headsets. Commissioner Chad McLeod says this is a needed improvement for local law enforcement.

“This is a step up for our police department and brings a lot of capabilities that we currently don’t have,” McLeod said.

Other policing solutions needed

The police department is currently doing a massive systems upgrade to prepare for the new equipment. Next is a public education component and anticipation of the body camera implementation Commissioner Sarah McCarley says it’s important for the public to know this isn’t the city’s only solution to improving policing for Lakeland’s residents.

“This is not an end-all-be-all and the policing tools that we have that community policing and relationships between the police and our young people are really critical,” McCarley said.

The Lakeland Ledger reported that the cameras may not be in use in Lakeland until 2023.

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