Tampa Police will soon have body cameras

Pilot program could hit streets by end of 2014

TAMPA, Fla. - Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor announced Tuesday that her department is looking into pilot programs that would put cameras on officer uniforms.

The program could be in place before the end of the year, placing about 60 cameras across all the department's districts.

Before purchasing the camera and data storing system, Tampa City Council would need to approve the expenditure.

Castor told ABC Action News she was looking into the cameras before the police-involved shooting of an unarmed man in Ferguson, Mo., last month, which launched a national debate on law enforcement practices.

"It will be a benefit to law enforcement, a benefit to the community," said Castor. "There's no doubt, in my personal opinion, that within the next five years every police officer in the nation will have a body-worn camera."

Castor said the cameras don't necessarily cost a lot of money; the biggest costs are data storage and maintenance.

"It's a little deeper than just buying a camera and attaching it to a pair of glasses," Castor said.

A timeline and cost estimate are still in the works.

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