New Florida Bill Will Require Police Body Camera Training

New Florida Bill Will Require Police Body Camera Training

Earlier this year, House Bill 93—which would create training standards for Florida law enforcement agencies who use body cameras—was passed by the Florida House of Representatives. The Senate failed to get to the bill by the end of its legislative session, but the bill is now again slated for consideration in 2016 after another favorable vote from the House last month.

As Government Technology reports, the bill seeks to create policies for Florida law enforcement agencies who have adopted (or will adopt) the new technology. This would mean mandating officer training to ensure consistent and reliable use of the cameras.

"If you look at the news, if you look at a lot of what’s taking place right now," said bill co-sponsor Representative Shevrin Jones, "you’ll find there’s a lot of pointing-fingers taking place—whether from the citizens’ standpoint or from the police aspect." The bill is co-sponsored by Representative Alan Williams.

House Bill 93 is also supported by many law enforcement agencies and would affect Miami-Dade departments if passed next year. While Miami agencies aren't using the camera yet, $5 million was set aside this year to purchase the cameras for local departments.

Not Yet Statewide

While body cameras are likely soon to be a reality for Maimi-Dade, a small fraction of Florida departments are using or are slated to use them. In fact, only 18 of the 300+ law enforcement agencies in Florida have body cameras or have plans to adopt them. According to Jones, this is mostly due to budgetary issues and that he expects the number of departments using the technology to grow.

Body cameras have become a hot topic for police agencies over the last two years. The high-profile police killings of unarmed African-American men like Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and others have caused a national outcry for law enforcement transparency and accountability. Last October, Cory Jones, 31, was shot and killed by a Palm Beach Gardens police officer. No dash camera or body camera was there to capture the exact details of the shooting.

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