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Lake Wales police will become first in Polk County to use body cameras

Posted at 5:35 PM, Feb 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-16 23:21:14-05

LAKE WALES, Fla. — In a meeting Tuesday night, the Lake Wales City Commission unanimously voted to approve implementing the use of body cameras on its police officers.

This makes Lake Wales police the first agency in Polk County to use body cameras.

“To protect our citizens and our police officers. I think that a body camera would be great,” said Terrye Howell Commissioner for District 122.

City Commissioner Howell represents the northwest section of Lake Wales, a predominately Black area. She said there have been several complaints from residents of unfair treatment by police.

“Do they think that it’s all the policemen? No ma'am, but they can identify the policemen that continuously do the same things over, and over, and over again,” Howell said.

The commission approved a five-year contract that includes eight cameras, with a price tag of nearly $75,000.

The Lake Wales Police Department employs 44 law enforcement officers.

Howell believes this would help with transparency and build trust between the community and police.

“Our policy should be that if you have it on and you’re with any citizen it should be taping, it should be rolling. It should never be turned off because we want the whole story because I don’t think we’re getting the whole story every time,” said Howell.