Since March 2021, deputies have been trained and outfitted with body-worn cameras. While implementation of the program has been successful, the overall effort to enhance the Pinellas County Sheriff Office’s (PCSO) video capabilities is not complete. The PCSO is currently updating all agency Tahoes with the Axon Fleet 3 System, which interfaces with the Axon body-worn cameras and was included in the initial contract for body-worn cameras.

In coordination with the Fleet Operations Division and the Information Technology Bureau, Axon technicians have been installing the new systems in about six Tahoes per day since August 3rd. Initially, the technicians are retrofitting the older Tahoe models and will begin installations on the brand new 2021 Tahoes as soon as they arrive toward the end of this year.

The Axon Fleet 3 System brings newer video recording technology, such as video formatting and high-definition resolution, into each vehicle. Additionally, with the former COBAN System, deputies needed to physically upload their videos at a fixed location from a hard drive. With the new system, each video is uploaded automatically over an expanded cellular/LTE network. All of the recorded videos from the vehicle and the body-worn cameras are stored together in a secure digital evidence management system.

Instead of reviewing video footage on a monitor in the dash of the Tahoe, deputies will be able to see it from their agency laptops. In the event of a major incident, all of the cameras will begin recording automatically. The automatic triggers include if a gun is un-holstered, a Taser is turned on, or the emergency light bar is activated. Using the multi-cam playback feature, a user can simultaneously watch up to four separate videos of the same incident, each from its own unique perspective.

“I’m excited about the possibilities these new technologies will bring to the street, both from an officer safety standpoint, and as an evidence collection tool,” Lieutenant Bobby Osterland, who is managing the effort, said. “With the addition of the Axon Fleet 3 System to our existing body-worn camera system, the sheriff’s office is maintaining and enhancing its ability to deliver professional law enforcement services to the citizens of Pinellas County.”