Body cameras show many sides of being an officer

Aaron Mesmer reports

- Tampa Police gave the community an eye-opening look into what they deal with on a daily basis when  they released a series of body camera videos Thursday..

The videos range from traffic stops, to chases, to rescues, to the moments when an officer lends a  hand to someone who needs help.

"Now you get a chance to see the other side," said Officer Lanard Taylor, "There's a reasoning for a  lot of the things we do and now hopefully you'll get a chance to see some of the reasoning."

The first two videos in the sequence that runs nearly four minutes were recorded by Taylor's camera,  which is mounted to his glasses.

Both clips show drivers reacting rudely when Taylor attempts to give them a ticket.

"That just happens all the time, every day," he said.

Another video in which Taylor is also the officer shows a man in a bank trying to run away, but  instead busting through a locked glass door.

"When I went back and watched the video, the only thing I could say was, 'wow,'" Taylor said. "He had  the sheer determination to get away but it didn't work out for him too well."

This is the first time the department has released videos recorded by body cameras since 60 officers  began wearing the devices last spring.

Andrea Davis, a TPD spokesperson, said the department hoped to show the public moments that don't  often make headlines.

"The goal was just to show what really happens, kind of you're riding shotgun with a police officer in  the car with them," she said. "We just wanted to show the community the perspective from the officers,  what they see."

That includes some of the moments that might not attract a lot of attention, such as fixing a  wheelchair, changing a tire, or tossing a football around with a six-year-old.

"Despite the crazy stuff [like] running through the glass and people cursing at you and running from  you," Taylor said, "at the end of the day when you have that kid who looks at you and says, 'I want to  be a police officer,' or he comes and he wants to talk to you or he wants to give you a high five or  he wants to play basketball with you, that makes it all worth it."

TPD and the University of South Florida are wrapping up a year-long study into the effectiveness of  body cameras. The results are expected to come this summer. That should help the department determine  whether to ask city leaders to purchase more of the devices.

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