Body Worn Video Steering Group

‘How Does 84 Hours of Body Camera Video Cost $18,000?’

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A local Saratosa civil liberties activist is suing the city and Sarasota Police Chief Bernadette DiPino over the high cost of obtaining video from new police body cameras.

Security and Privacy

After also hearing criticism from members of the public, Sarasota Police Department officials provided more detailed estimates of those costs.

The cost of the video became an issue after police officials required an $18,000 payment for 84 hours of video taken when police tested the new body cameras last year. (The total estimated cost to make the 84 hours of police body camera video public is about $18,000, which includes $16,000 to review the video plus $2,275 for 455 DVDs)

The request, and the subsequent lawsuit, came from Michael Barfield, vice president of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, who is known for challenging local officials on public records law.

Sarasota Police are set to begin using 24 new body cameras on patrol officers this month, during a one-year test.

Police officials estimated it would take more than 458 hours to review and redact the 84 hours of video, according to a city worksheet estimating the costs. That would be more than five hours of review for each hour of video.

The city can charge up to $35 per hour for that work. But the effective cost in this case, including all of the charges listed by the city, comes to about $190 per hour of video.

“SPD’s attitude is to make access to public records as expensive as possible,” Barfield said. “That’s wrong and violates the law. Citizens should not have to pay exorbitant rates to access records that are owned by them. Public records belong to the public.”

(Via: Herald Tribune)

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