PBSO Updates Royal Palm Council On Deputy Body Cameras

PBSO Capt. Ulrich Naujoks recently updated the Royal Palm Beach Village Council on the status of body-worn cameras for Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office deputies.

“In July of last year, support teams met with seven different vendors to go over what they had to offer and what kind of technology they had,” Naujoks said at the council’s Thursday, Dec. 16 meeting. “After that, they created a request for proposals, and of those seven vendors, five responded that met the criteria we had laid forth.”

The PBSO body-worn camera team then developed scenarios that it wanted to test the cameras in, and the vendors are now supplying the agency with cameras. The PBSO hopes to have them deployed in a test environment in January 2022.

The council has long supported having cameras on Royal Palm Beach deputies.

“What I’d like to remind the public and the council, is this is not as easy as just getting a GoPro and walking around and filming everything,” Naujoks said. “There has got to be a lot of policies and procedures, directives on who gets them and when they turn them on. Not only will this affect 1,500 to 2,000 deputies, it’s also going to affect about 1,000 cars.”

He explained that Sheriff Ric Bradshaw wants to be able to get a view of the overall scene of an incident from the deputy’s vehicle, as well as the body cam.

“The sheriff wants to upgrade the car system, too, so you actually have a full picture of what’s going on,” he said. “He wants to do it right the first time. If it takes a little longer, that’s what he’s going to do.”

Naujoks added that the goal of setting up the system is to see what the officer actually sees.

“There’s a lot of nuts and bolts to move through, but we are moving forward,” he said. “With an agency this size, it’s not as easily implemented.”

Councilman Jeff Hmara asked if there is a particular police department that has modeled the use of body cameras, and Naujoks said there have been several.

“That’s what the beginning of this process was, benchmarking with those that have already had it for a while and were successful,” Naujoks said, adding that there are many issues, such as when children are involved, where technicians have to redact information.

Mayor Fred Pinto said the information was an important update because it has been more than a year since the council last received information about the use of body cameras.

“We understand that it takes time if you want to do it right,” Pinto said.