Police dash cam could have helped find hit-and-run driver, but Polk 'doesn't and won't' use cameras

Posted at 7:09 PM, Nov 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-02 06:18:43-04

As detectives check out every lead that’s coming in about the deadly hit and run involving one of their own, one piece of evidence they won’t be looking at is from the dash cam of the the police cruiser.

That’s because it doesn’t exist. Polk County deputies don’t have dash cams.

“So yes, in this particular case would we like to have a camera? We would like to have lots of cameras, but we didn’t and we won’t,” said Sheriff Grady Judd.

The accident over the weekend on State Road 60 in Lake Wales left Polk County mother, Jessica Enchautegui, dead. Deputy Adam Pennell, who stopped to check on her, underwent a major surgery all day Tuesday. He is expected to survive but will have a long road to recovery.

Judd admits a dash cam would help but is against any type of agency cameras, citing a loss of privacy and money.

“It’s easy solution to say that. But what you don’t recognize is it’s millions and millions of dollars with an agency this size that the local taxpayer pays,” he said.

ABC Action News found out most of the sheriff’s offices in the bay area use at least some cameras.

Hillsborough County has cameras in 19 patrol cars. Pasco doesn’t have any but deputies use body cameras that they can turn on in the car.

In Pinellas, the agency has roughly 420 cars equipped with cameras.

But in Polk: zero.

“When we put cameras on school teachers, when we put cameras on doctors dealing with our very lives, come back and talk to me,” Judd added.

So instead of focusing in on a make and model of a car or maybe zooming in on a tag number, detectives now are doing some old-school police work to track down the unknown driver.

Meanwhile, Enchautegui’s family is waiting for justice, and Pennell’s family is praying for a speedy recovery.