Would dash cameras help solve fatal hit-and-run crash?

Renewed push for deputy dashboard cameras

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WTSP) -- Detectives in Polk County are still searching for the person who ran into Jessica Enchautegui-Otero and Deputy Adam Pennell. Enchautegui-Otero was killed, and Pennell is still in the hospital.

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Pennell was simply trying to help Enchautegui-Otero after she crashed her cars into a tree on State Road 60. Moments later, a driver plowed into them and took off.

“You are a coward,” Sheriff Grady Judd said. “That's what you are.”

Now the reward is up to $10,000, but there's hardly a trace of evidence leading deputies to the driver.

We got a comment on our 10News WTSP Facebook page, saying if Polk deputies had dash cams on their cruisers or wore body cameras, we might have been able to get a good look at the vehicle the suspect was driving or even a license plate number.

10Investigates spent years asking why Polk is the only local sheriff's office that flat-out rejects using dash-mounted cameras, so we tracked down the man behind that post, Brad Davis.

Davis runs a Facebook page that's critical of Sheriff Judd. He said this crash is another example of why deputies need cameras.

“Today, the person who did this would be in jail, instead of out free, roaming around, able to do this to somebody else,” he said.

It’s important to note Polk deputies arrested Davis in 2009. He claims if they were using dash or body cameras, it would’ve helped him stay out of jail.

Responding to our question about whether cameras would help track down the killer, he admits they would.

“In this particular case, would we have liked to have cameras? We'd like to have lots of cameras, but we didn't and we won't,” he said.

Judd went on to say the Sheriff’s office can't afford to buy cameras, install them and store the footage on them. He also has concerns about privacy.

“It would’ve been just as easy a solution for the person to stop,” Judd said, referring to the driver in the hit-and-run crash.

To contact Crime Stoppers, call 1-800-226-TIPS. A GoFundMe has been created to help pay for Jessica's funeral expenses.


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