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Champion Calls for Transparency while Others Aren't So Sure

BROOKSVILLE – During a Hernando Board of County Commissioners meeting today, Commissioner Steve Champion called for the board to research and develop options for the Sheriff's Office to purchase and maintain body worn cameras (BWCs).

The issue of BWCs doesn't go over well with Sheriff Al Nienhuis, as he vehemently opposes their use in Hernando County. Nienhuis has offered various excuse over the years, from cost to purchase them to privacy concerns. When confronted with the issue, Nienhuis says, "I follow Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd's lead." Judd and Nienhuis are two of just a handful of chief law enforcement officers in Florida who oppose body cameras.

When Champion announced that he was going to discuss the body camera issue at around 9:30 a.m. this morning, Nienhuis immediately scheduled a press conference at the Sheriff's Office for the exact same time. It turned out that the press conference, which was supposed to be an update on several murder cases, provided no new information at all. A big disappointment for local media. Some of the rumblings in media circles suggest that Nienhuis held the press conference to prevent coverage of the BOCC meeting.

Champion explained that the incident in Memphis, Tennessee made him "sick," and that he wanted to find a way to bring BWCs to the county. Although open to discussing the options, his fellow commissioners didn't seem too thrilled about the idea and echoed Nienhuis's bullet points, as if they were reading from a script.

Watch the following videos for excerpts from today's meetings.

BOCC Meeting

HCSO Press Conference


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