Nassau County Sheriff’s Office deploys body-worn cameras for deputies

NASSAU COUNTY, Florida. – At the start of her shift, Nassau County Deputy Brandy Turman now turns on the camera she wears on her chest.

“I really enjoyed the body cameras. It gives us a new perspective. It gives us a new tool to work with,” Turman said.

Turman and some of his assistant colleagues have been testing the cameras for a month. By the end of January, according to Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper, 140 deputies will be wearing body cameras.

“It’s a good thing because it shows the good things that deputies and officers do all the time that are never seen, that are never captured. So when good things happen, we can show the public, hey, we did well. But if they did something wrong, then naturally we don’t hide it,” Leeper said.

During a major event, such as a shooting involving the police, the deputy can anchor the footage in his patrol car once the scene is clear. They will immediately put on a second camera, so they are still recording.

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Sheriff Leeper explained how the agency plans to release the video to the public.

“We have been working on a policy for this and we will be working with the state attorney’s office. Depending on whether criminal activity is taking place, make sure we don’t disclose anything that could interfere with the investigation or prosecution. We’ll post them as soon as we can and as soon as we think it’s possible to do so,” Leeper said.

Deputy Turman thinks greater transparency will benefit the community.

“I think they’re really going to like it. It will show that we’re doing our job to the best of our abilities, and they’ll see what we’re up to, and they’ll like it,” Turman said.

Sheriff Leeper said the body cameras cost just under $450,000. He said the funding came from seizing assets from criminals.

In 2013, the sheriff’s office and a few other agencies made a garnishment with the IRS where they received over $1 million, according to Leeper. He said the agency hired another person from the records department to respond to public records requests for the images.

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