Police Body Cameras – update

By 2020, 73% of MDP’s sworn personnel could be equipped with a body camera.

June, 2015 – The Miami-Dade County Commission endorsed a $5 million dollar plan to train and equip officers with body cameras over the next five years. During the next stage of this plan, vendors will bid for the opportunity to supply 500 cameras by the end of 2015 with a second order of 500 units to be delivered in 2016. Assuming that the plan seeks to equip 500 officers per year, a total of 2,500 cameras would be in use by 2020 if the 5-year plan is successfully implemented. The local police department has 2,611 sworn personnel (as of June 2nd, 2015) including office and field employees.

Given the total number of sworn personnel, 2,500 seems to be an exorbitant amount of body cameras. However, the local commission also revealed plans to hire an additional 600 to 800 officers, which would take the present ratio of 2.4 officers per 1,000 residents, up to the national average of 2.7 officers per 1,000 residents. If both plans succeed, MPD could have 3,411 sworn personnel and 2,500 body cameras on the field by 2020.

It was back in December of 2014 that President Obama announced a motion to allocate $263 million for a three-year program aimed at training police enforcement on the use of a body camera to record field officer shifts.

In August of the same year, Mayor of Miami-Dade County, Carlos Gimenez called for a budget increase in the sum of $400,000 to cover expenses tied to the use of body cameras in field operations. Police unions acted in protest against the body camera proposal, claiming that the cameras would endanger the lives of officers. The cameras, the union claimed, would interfere with officers’ ability to react quickly in life-threatening situations.

Body cameras used during early trials were in fact be cumbersome. However, new cameras that are less bulky have entered the market since the plan was conceived and obstructive equipment is no longer a valid argument against the body-cam plan.

Backing the body-cam motion are results from several studies, including one by Journal of Quantitative Criminology on the use of body cams as part of the police uniform which showed that officers equipped with the cameras showed a decreased use of force against civilians.

For more information on this subject, read our original post on Police Body Cameras, here .

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