Police body cameras not feasible, says officials

Little progress will be made for mandated police body cameras from that House Bill 93 currently being considered in the state senate. The bill, which unanimously passed the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee during its first hearing, only requires police departments throughout Florida currently using body camera to regulate officer training, the use of cameras and the management of footage captured.

The move comes at a disappointment for police body camera advocates seeking a statewide mandate. But Broward County State Representative Hazel Rogers said that while this demand is “understandable” in light of recent high-profile police shootings, “it may not be practical, as some departments may not be able to afford the cost of the cameras.”

Bill 93 sponsor Democrat Shevrin Jones of West Park admits “some departments don’t have the capacity to use the camera, and to impose a mandate would be costly and unfunded.”

Calls for state police officers to wear body camera has escalated since last month’s shooting death of church musician Corey Jones, 31, by a Palm Beach Gardens police officer. Jones was shot while waiting by his car on a highway for a tow truck after his car had broken down.

Last Sunday, at a vigil held in memory of Jones by Florida’s Black Law Students Association in Lauderdale Lakes, renewed calls were made for mandated police body cameras. The panelists, including Representative Jones and Broward Sheriff Scott Israel, supported the call for Body cameras. Israel told the audience that he would be advocating for the use of body cameras by county police officers.

To date, only a few departments in Palm Beach County, Miami-Dade County and the City of Miami Beach wear body cameras. While no departments in Broward are mandated to wear cameras, officials in Hallandale Beach, Coral Springs and Lauderhill are reviewing the possibility

Miami security consultant Manley Nichols said that while body cameras are “ideal, especially as controversial police shootings escalate, there are serious cost, training, and privacy implications, so this is an innovation that cannot be rushed.”

 

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