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Body Cams, Wildlife Officer Positions Among FWC's 2018 Legislative Budget Requests

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As law enforcement agencies across Florida consider using body cameras, the state’s wildlife officers are following suit.

Body Cameras

After looking at preliminary research of other law enforcement agencies using body cameras and using it themselves, Charlotte Jerrett says her agency sees the benefits of the cameras. She’s the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Chief Financial Officer.

“The Division of law enforcement just finished a pilot program for body warn cameras and they’re ready to bring this initiative forth,” she said. “This would provide for about 800 cameras in our force. They had a really good success story with that program.”

The total funding request is more than 735,000. About half would come from the Marine Resources Conservation Trust Fund. The rest would come from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund.

Wildlife Officer positions

Florida’s wildlife agency is asking the legislature for 5 and a half million dollars to fund law enforcement patrol and support positions. With an increase in attendance over the years, these employees will help patrol Florida’s state parks.

“We have not asked for any new positions in 12 years,” Jerrett added. “So, these 25 FTE [Full Time Employees] for enhanced law enforcement patrol, those would be 23 officers and two dispatchers and those would be in areas of greatest need. A lot of those would be in our coastal counties.”

Despite the ask, in a legislative budget exercise to look at areas to cut, the FWC pinpoints 61 officer positions. That could save the state millions. But, the wildlife agency claims doing so will create a huge hindrance in the ability to do its job.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.