bodycam
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Santa Fe College police officers will get body cameras in the next year.

On Tuesday, the Department of Justice announced it awarded a $28,000 body-camera grant to the Santa Fe College Police Department. Of the 33 departments across the country that received the grant, Santa Fe was the only one in Florida.

The college will match half of the money, totaling about $50,000, toward the body cameras. The college’s money will give Santa Fe Police time to research different body cameras, train officers in how to use them and provide professional development resources, said Santa Fe Police Chief Ed Book.

Book said he wants to get enough cameras to outfit up to 17 officers.

Funding for the one-year grant will become available in October, he said. The first few months will be spent researching what cameras to buy and how to store the video footage.

University Police has been looking into getting body cameras for the last two years, said UPD spokesman Maj. Brad Barber.

He said the department is looking to apply for more grants and sources of funding for its 89 officers.

“It would be quite expensive,” he said.

Book applied for a similar grant last April because he said he wanted to offer transparency to the UF community and build trust.

“Why not get ahead of that and say, ‘Look, we trust you, we want you to trust us,’” Book said.

Caitlin Ostroff is a journalism junior and freelance editor. Now in her fourth semester reporting for the Alligator, she's covered everything from Student Government to cops to features. She's a coffee addict, stress baker and devout Hufflepuff.