PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB)– The Panama City Beach City Council gave the approval at their last meeting for their code enforcement division to be issued body cameras.
The cameras will cost the city more than $16,000 dollars over a five year period.
The decision comes after officers were recently asked to ticket swimmers during double red flag conditions, said Panama City Beach Code Enforcement Manager James Tindle.
Tindle said he hopes the cameras will be used as a tool to not only document the conditions of the water that day but also to promote both public and officer safety.
“When you issue somebody a citation sometimes things may come up where what they say may have happened or may not have happened, and if they contest the citation it gives us a video log of what happened that day,” Tindle said.
Tindle said the department has had to issue 118 tickets this year to those swimming in double red flag conditions.
“A majority of the people understand that we’re trying to keep them safe and out of the water. There are a few that give backlash, but at the end of the day a $500 ticket, is cheaper than the other option which is death,” Tindle said.
The Panama City Beach Police Department will also be getting 60 body cameras, a decision the Council approved back in September.
Panama City Beach Police Deputy Chief, Chad Lindsey said the value the cameras add to the community, far outweighs their heavy price tag.
“I think any time a city can provide transparency and accountability for what their employees are doing is a good thing,” Lindsey said.
Tindle said he expects his office to receive the cameras in early December, and that he and his officers will have a training alongside the Panama City Beach Police Department.