Some Seminole deputies caught not using dashboard cameras

Updated:

Robert Pinos

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - WFTV was the first to show dash cam video of two Seminole County deputies holding a driver and his passenger at gunpoint just seconds after they were pulled over for not wearing seat belts.

Both of those deputies were fired. One was also disciplined for leaving his dashboard camera's microphone inside his car.

The two men stopped by the deputies filed complaints and the video was crucial in proving their case.

"It's a strong law enforcement tool. It's also a tool that's used to regulate police misconduct," said WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer.

After reporting on the Seminole County incident, WFTV found other cases in Seminole County in the last two years in which deputies were disciplined for not properly using their dashboard cameras' audio and/or video after a complaint or review revealed it was missing.

One of those came after Charles Roux complained about how he was treated during a traffic stop.

"He basically said, 'Take it to court. I dare you, because I've got it on camera,'" Roux told WFTV's Kenneth Craig in a phone call.

But reports show that in Roux's case the audio wasn't activated when the deputy approached the car.

According to the report the deputy couldn't explain why the audio was off.

The five violations in Seminole County in the last two years, are few compared to the 18,000 arrests they made in that time.

Sheaffer said each one is crucial for protecting both law enforcement and defendants.

"Even if there is one, it's certainly critical to that defendant who has been mistreated by law enforcement and lo and behold has no evidence now to back it up," said Sheaffer.

According to the Seminole County Sheriff's Officer a deputy's camera is automatically activated when cars emergency lights are activated, or when the vehicle reaches 80 mph.

Deputies are responsible for activating it during law enforcement activities, including, but not limited to, runken driving and other criminal investigations, routine traffic stops, street encounters, pursuits, and emergency responses.