Panama City Beach Police Department to get body cameras next year

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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB)– Thursday, the Panama City Beach City Council gave the okay for the Panama City Beach Police Department to invest in body cameras.

The body cams will be added to the budget for next year and about 60 cameras will be purchased.

Drew Whitman, Panama City Beach Police Chief, felt that it was time that the department becomes more up to date with technology and that ultimately both the officers wearing the cameras and citizens will benefit by having their rights protected with hard evidence.

“It’s a benefit for both. It’ll protect my officers and it’ll protect the citizens. So if they have a complaint I’ll be able to watch it in real-time, to see if the officers did something wrong, or I could validate and say the officers were in our standards and our operation procedures,” said Whitman.

The new additions will also bring changes to protocol for the department, since the recordings are subject to public record. They will have to be more careful about where they speak to citizens in the interest of protecting private information like someone’s home address.

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