Real News Real Fast –  Nobody Gets There Faster!

Body Worn Cameras a “Success” in Pasco, Hernando County Sheriff Believes it Invades Privacy

HERNANDO – If you’re one that believes you can “live off the grid” – think again – there’s virtually nowhere you can hide without being photographed, video recorded, or even tracked by your own mobile devices, and that information can be easily accessed by the public, employers, and of course the Government. Most of us have adjusted to living with “Big Brother” and there are certainly pros and cons to that relationship.

With cameras pointed in nearly every direction on homes, roadways and businesses, criminals are forced to choose their targets more “wisely” or find ways to disguise their identity when committing a crime. And with today’s modern security systems, even the average homeowner can afford to keep an eye on their property from anywhere in the world. But there is one key factor that some say would be a game changer in crime fighting if all law enforcement agencies would adopt the measure.

Over the last decade there have been several high-profile cases, where individuals died at the hands of law enforcement or vice versa. The 2014 shooting death of Michael Brown led to weeks of violent protests, looting, and a near-total destruction of Ferguson, Missouri. Last year, 32-year-old Philandro Castile died after he was shot several times by Minnesota Police Officer, Jeronimo Yanez, who was later acquitted of manslaughter charges. When news of the Yanez’ acquittal reached St. Paul residents, the city was brought to a virtual standstill by violent protests. The 2015 death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Maryland, sparked days of racially charged protests, despite the fact that three of the six officers charged in Gray’s death were Black. What do all three of these tragic cases have in common? None of the law enforcement officers were wearing body cameras at the time of their respective incidents. Could that have made a difference in how each case was handled? Could millions of dollars in property damage, injuries, and unrelated deaths have been prevented if body worn video was released to the public before chaos erupted?

The two Kissimmee Police Officers who were shot to death last Friday by 45-year-old Everett Miller were not wearing body cameras at the time of the incident. Thanks to the quick actions by investigators, Miller was located at a nearby bar and arrested, and will have his day in court. Earlier this year, the City of Kissimmee approved body cameras for all their officers; however, the program had not yet been fully implemented by the time of last week’s shooting. Without independent witnesses of the shooting, body camera video might have been a key piece of evidence to be used in prosecuting Miller for the murders of Officer Matthew Baxter and Sgt. Sam Howard.

Closer to home, Hernando County Sheriff’s Deputies have been involved in at least two fatal shootings in recent years, and just last week, Deputies were involved in a non-fatal shooting on Cedar Drive that injured an armed suspect. Without video turned over to officials by RNRF (CLICK HERE) and cellphone video captured by residents, witness testimony would be the only evidence available to investigators.

Despite the benefits of body worn cameras, Hernando County Sheriff, Al Nienhuis says he will not consider them for use in his agency. Nienhuis told a reporter with News Channel 8 News recently, “I think dashcams will often get the evidence you need without being inside somebody’s house, videotaping them during the worst time of your life – often times we come into domestic situations…” Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri agrees with Nienhuis and says “…We do a lot of videotaping and I believe that it’s the right thing and the appropriate thing to do for the collection of evidence but I’m not going to implement a body worn camera system.” But Pasco County Sheriff, Chris Nocco says he’s seen a lot of success in the last two and half years of using body worn cameras. Spokesperson, Amy Marinec tells RNRF, “So far, we have seen no negative aspects.” Marinec also reports seeing a reduction in the number of lawsuits and citizen complaints as result of the cameras, but says, “…Each agency must make their own decisions based on the factors they wish to consider.”

Hernando County Commissioner, John Allocco tells RNRF, “I would defer to our sheriff for his opinion based upon his familiarity with our county, keeping in mind that this would be another cost incurred upon the HCSO and getting his budget approved has, unfortunately, been hostile with the Board of County Commissioners over the last few years.”

Commissioner Steve Champion agrees with Allocco in that the Sheriff should have the final say, but he believes the program would help protect Deputies from “frivolous claims and lies.” Champion goes on to say, “Our men and women of law enforcement do a fantastic job and when these unfounded claims come forward we can easily dismiss them.”

Florida Lawmakers are paving the way for all law enforcement officers around the state to utilize body worn cameras. Earlier this year, legislation passed unanimously that would require law enforcement agencies to create regulations and proper training protocols if they decide to use the devices.

Out of the over 300 law enforcement agencies in Florida, only about 30 agencies currently utilize body worn cameras.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ™2013 – 2017 RNRF Incorporated.

.


Share With:
Rate This Article
;
Comments
  • The CROOKED sheriff Al neihius will never agree to body cams he stinks of corruption!

    Tuesday, 2 January 2018, 1:56 pm
  • Free bird, I agree. When you are employed to carry Leathal weapons when interacting with any and all types of people in the community, including children, what is the need for privacy? While on duty, officers should be held accountable, as they are supposedly held to a higher standard of safety and ethics.

    Wednesday, 30 August 2017, 4:28 pm
  • Blm likely wouldn’t exist if Body cams were used.

    Certain local politicians would also likely be in prison as cops wouldn’t have to worry about bs claims of this or that.

    Most cops are very good people, cameras would increase that percentage.

    Saturday, 26 August 2017, 11:51 pm
  • I think that you all tend to forget that the officers don’t just interact with the offenders but also spend a great deal of their time face to face with the victims. It’s horrific enough for a victim to undergo the photographs of their wounds but to also have to have the whole experience video taped! At least the Sheriff shows some compassion for that. I imagine his experience plays a big part in such a decision. I know there are some bad apples but I have a feeling the recordings would vindicate more officers than offenders. It’s sad to see the media and public show such little support to our boys in blue who risk so much. You all just add to this mass hysteria that they are corrupt and evil. Also, the disgression of the victims should be the real deciding factor.

    Saturday, 26 August 2017, 11:06 am
    • Everything you mentioned is in fact used in court to prosecute an offender.
      It is all subject to public record if in fact one would have an interest in the case.
      Unless one submits a pleasing to seal with the court.
      People use better judgement when they know a camera’s watching I would think.

      Monday, 28 August 2017, 4:47 pm
  • Makes me wonder “who’s” privacy is at issue here with the Sheriff? I think body cams on law enforcement should be mandatory.

    Saturday, 26 August 2017, 10:21 am
  • REALLY???? Hospitals have cameras. Walmart has cameras. Schools have cameras. McDonald’s has cameras. BUT, our police officers find it an invasion of privacy???? REALLY???? What are you doing, on the clock , that they feel is an
    ” invasion of privacy?” If an officer pulls me over , I would 100% prefer a camera recording 100% of the interaction!!!!! This is 2017, EVERYTHING is recorded , so why not the police???

    Saturday, 26 August 2017, 10:09 am
  • I think all police officers should wear body cameras. Every other position involved in the law-making and implementing process is subject to transparency, why should the Sheriff get to choose whether this county is transparent or not? The camera footage is not released to the public unless it is under dispute, where it would still cover up any personal or privacy-invasive footage. It would serve the officers better that the people if there weren’t so many shady practices going on with many, if not all, of Hernando County police officers. Another very important point would be to think of all the innocent people who have been wrongfully accused and the position they were/are put in when it is the officer’s word against theirs. I bet they wish the officer was wearing a body camera when they had their rights, given to them by the Constitution, stripped away so quickly. All positions of power and/or authority should be transparent, period.

    Saturday, 26 August 2017, 4:22 am
  • I agree with Free Bird of course this crooked Sheriff and all of his crooked deputies do not want nobody seeing what they do organized crime at its best

    Friday, 25 August 2017, 9:19 pm
  • Arlene and Free Bird, you BOTH are exactly right. EVERYBODY in this county KNOWS there are ‘dirty cops’ on the force. We ALSO know they cover each others asses. And for the most part the sheriff knows it, but chooses to look the other way. That’s why he said no to the body cams. He KNOWS he would have to answer to the public for all the things that would be exposed by those cameras. If they were clean, and above reproach, and had nothing to hide….he would approve the body cams. But he knows better, so to avoid it all the way around…it was easier to just say no.
    Sheriff, if you ain’t got NOTHIN to hide…then say yes to those body cams. It will only serve to clear the names of all your low-life deputies when they can’t seem to keep their cool, or it will save one of their lives, or when they are accused of ‘planting drugs’ (which we already know they do). Ask Cooper, he knows ALL about that. What cha got to hide Sheriff….?

    Friday, 25 August 2017, 9:11 pm
    • Why do I have a feeling you’ve been arrested before. LOL

      Saturday, 26 August 2017, 11:11 am
  • i say wear it but only the few that are still real protectors of the community wont have an issue doing it, the problem will be the ones that disrespect the public with their smart ass attitudes,threatening “or else”, and of course the pile up of excessive force. the men and women in law enforcement that pride themselves in the job they swore to uphold are getting far and few pushed out by the four cop ( law,judge,jury, and their favorite the executioner ! maybe it would be best if HCSO did not wear a camera because i’d be willing to bet we won’t be able to keep many on the streets working. although back in the day when innocent until proven guilty was the way of the law those cameras would have been a god send. cameras may also be a plus for the complete staff it just might cut down on the “accidental slip and fall during processing or transporting of guilty persons” let us not forget the very very many that have been wrongly convicted and imprisoned that a tool such as this stopped some of that but ney or yea on the issue it still cannot stop all of the corruption big AL has on his roster . so for all of the ones that say i’m full of shit just hope you never get the opportunity or misfortune of dealing with a once good cop turned bad. they will make your life a living hell and all you can do is wonder why, why, why

    Friday, 25 August 2017, 7:05 pm
  • There is no hard to make the calls, in wearing body camera’s by all law enforcement.
    Dash cams if not in the direct path of the incident cannot record anything of any real significance
    in respect to why they the sheriff is there.
    Having a video concerning any alledged offence works towards the best interest of Justice.
    Making it easier to prosecute or making the decision to prosecute would of course be much easier.
    Of course I have nothing but the highest respect for the Sheriff of Hernando County, he having shook
    my hand shortly after being elected.
    Though concerning the one or two bad apples whom would take short cuts or commit behavior that
    is not to the highest standards like the sheriff himself is governed by, should use the body camera’s to
    show transparency as any professional who in dealing with the unknown elements of the public.

    You can for free visit my poetry at

    http://www.poemhunter.com/is-it-poetry/

    Sincerely,

    James McLain

    Friday, 25 August 2017, 6:10 pm
  • Let me first say that if there is evidence of wrongdoing by a police officer, than they should be consequenced as all it does is create distrust. Unfortunately, there are bad apples in every profession. I tend to believe though that 99% of all police officers want to do the right thing and try to do the right thing. They are all under a microscope and must realize that any wrongdoing, especially something as serious as taking someone’s life, is going to be investigated. scrutinized and made an example of.
    But this is about body cameras. This is also about the media fanning the flames of situations to create news and make matters worse. This article makes it sound like if Officer Wilson had a body camera when he shot Michael Brown, that nothing would have happened in Ferguson. No looting, no riots, no burning cars. Really? Sure, in a fantasy world, cops would wear body cameras and their actions would be viewable 10 minutes after it took place. So, lets say Wilson had a camera. The public wouldn’t be able to see the footage right away, right? The animals would still act like animals and destroy the town they live in without waiting for judgment. So I ask, what’s the benefit of cameras? The truth was discovered in Ferguson but the damage was already done.
    Ferguson was in the news for days and weeks, getting the country incensed over police and racism. Tell me, how many days or weeks was it in the paper when the Department of Justice released its report on that case?? Hardly a blip was reported because what it did was prove that Brown grabbed and punched Wilson as he sat in his car. Wilson fired two shots, striking Brown on his hand. His blood was in the car. Brown fled and when Wilson gave chase, Brown turned and charged at him. Wilson then shot him again as he was reaching near his waistband. There was absolutely no chance he was surrendering peacefully or had his arms outstretched, yet the media would have you believe otherwise for days following the case.
    Take any of these “high profile” cases over the past few years. The media blows them up and gets the country enraged over speculation at best. But when the facts of the case come out, complete with evidence and credible witness testimony, then the media goes quiet.
    It appears that the public and the media wants accountability with their police officers and they think cameras will offer that. To the media I say this, where is your accountability? When Ferguson happened, all we heard about was how a white police officer shot an unarmed black teen with his arms up. We had athletes protesting the shooting, walking around with their arms up, saying “don’t shoot”, all because of the media reporting what they thought would sell news.
    If the government wants to fund cameras for police officers nationwide, go for it. Waste more money. I don’t think it will change much of anything. The police will still try to do the right thing as they always have, and when the person they are dealing with wants to disobey commands and make a situation unsafe, the police will react and make the best decision they can with the information they have. And we will still find out days or weeks later that the decision they made was justified.

    Friday, 25 August 2017, 4:06 pm
    • I agree-the media constantly jumps to conclusions and often gets things wrong or omits context when they are in a rush to report it first. I’ve always been on the side of “wait & see”…give professionals a few days, at least, to investigate. And, like you stated, those that riot are usually just itching and looking for a reason to do so.

      That being said, I’d prefer LE was equipped with body cams.

      There’s no reason to release any footage publicly of anything that isn’t in dispute or high profile, so I don’t quite get the “privacy” concerns. Budget, on the other hand, is a legitimate concern. Adding the cost of one per budget calendar, or similar slow addition, may be the best course to address that…

      Friday, 25 August 2017, 5:13 pm
  • This is not a tough call at all. There is no invasion of privacy if the video is not generally publicly available. Everyone carries a camera these days, so the police are frequently the subject of video by citizens. The police need to have video from their perspective. Also, the more evidence there is, the better our judicial system will work.

    Friday, 25 August 2017, 3:45 pm
  • Wow…that really is a tough call. I agree that the cameras offer protection for both the officers as well as the offenders, but I would also not want to see officers armed with cameras entering my home in a traumatic situation either. No way to appease both sides on this one, so leaving it up to the Sheriff who would know better and ultimately be responsible either way sounds like the most intelligent way to go.

    Friday, 25 August 2017, 3:09 pm
  • HSCO does not need body cams. We have RNRF on scene to record stuff like that 🙂

    Friday, 25 August 2017, 2:40 pm
  • That just shows how much they want to hide.

    Friday, 25 August 2017, 2:38 pm
  • The Sheriff is an idiot. Body cameras protect the Deputy against wrongful law suits. Also helps with apprehension of those that got away if the camera saw them

    Friday, 25 August 2017, 2:05 pm
  • Yeah but they could buy cameras to put on their trunk of their cars that uses a scanner of license plates as they’re driving through parking lots. I don’t agree with that at all !

    Friday, 25 August 2017, 2:01 pm
    • Why do you not agree with scanning license plates?

      Friday, 25 August 2017, 6:26 pm
    • That’s the way it goes. Body cams and plate readers are both bad things but they are hidden behind catching criminals or providing “transparency’. There needs to be a balance and body cams and plate readers are going to tip that balance. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLTovS3yndE

      Saturday, 26 August 2017, 1:58 pm
  • That’s a really tough decision that has to be made as far as the use of body cameras are concerned. Since I am not a member of Law Enforcement in any way, I will leave it to the experts to decide whether they should be used or not. If our Sheriff decides that the cameras will benefit all concerned that I will go along with that and I don’t think that there should be any question about “where’s the money coming from”? The pocket book shouldn’t always have to be a factor when it comes to the safety of our Officers of Law Enforcement or the public.

    Friday, 25 August 2017, 1:04 pm
  • we have a county commission and citizens griping about the budget now.. Lets throw in another million to the budget, im sure that will go over well. LOL

    Friday, 25 August 2017, 12:50 pm
  • All police should wear body cams, when someone thinks it’s a bad idea, it tends to one thinking “why not?”
    It gives the impression there is something to hide. Body cams and tasers just might eliminate some
    unnecessary deaths.

    Friday, 25 August 2017, 12:25 pm
  • The budget should be cut not expanded. The dept in Hernando has way too much free time and doesn’t use it wisely. Has meth use, sales and creating are skyrocketing in this county, the dept has spent it’s time and money on useless community programs and petty crimes. Sending two cars to sound disturbance calls for example.

    They also fear the cameras will show any corruption going on.

    Friday, 25 August 2017, 12:16 pm
    • Funny, was the Tarpon Springs officer shot during a routine “sound disturbance”? If there is an officer available in the area why not have 2 respond? Is it a party with 200 people? Are those sounds “gun fire or fireworks”?

      Friday, 25 August 2017, 12:48 pm
  • I think all officers should wear body cams. That way no matter what went on, its recorded. Whether the civilian is the criminal or the cop is. And I think the feed should go to a third party recording co where NOBODY can tamper with it or say it was lost or damaged.

    Friday, 25 August 2017, 12:06 pm
  • Tough call! I see both sides!

    Friday, 25 August 2017, 11:58 am
    • How can you see both sides ? Tough call my ass. The cop has no right to privacy while on the job. What he does on that job effects the county and its coffers. See the cop jerking off on duty. The cameras provide evidence if there’s a lawsuit or allegations of misconduct. If a cop is doing his job properly and with in the laws there is no reason NOT to wear it or want it. Its more for his own protection than anything else.d So why else wouldn’t they want it ? I think Sheriff Dumbass is trying to cover up bad cops and bad policy.

      Friday, 25 August 2017, 2:57 pm

Leave a Reply

; })(jQuery)