You’ve probably seen video from cameras mounted on police car dashboards. Now in one South Florida city officers may soon be armed with cameras on their bodies. 7s Carmel Cafiero has our special assignment report Cop Cams.
WSVN — You are looking at the latest weapon in the fight against crime for one South Florida police department.
It has no firepower and cannot disarm a suspect, but it can provide ammunition in revealing the truth after encounters between police and the public.
Officer in another city: “Can you put the knife down for me?”
The Hallandale Beach Police Department is considering a plan that would equip 60 officers with body cameras.
Officers have been testing the cameras since October and the chief says they’ve warmed to the technology.
Chief Dwayne Flournoy: “Understandably, there was some hesitation. But as we continued to deploy, we began to have requests to wear them.
The cameras attach to an officer’s lapel or sunglasses and capture audio and video of what the officer is seeing and experiencing.
The chief says research shows fewer cases of officers using force and fewer complaints against officers in agencies that have used the cameras.
Chief Dwayne Flournoy: “Historically, it seems there is a correlation with the deployment of this technology in departments, that in those two categories they’ve seen significant reductions.”
Capt. Stuart Shook: “The battery pack, the camera, and then the wire to run the battery to the camera.”
7News rode along with Captain Stuart Shook as he wore one of the cameras.
Capt. Stuart Shook: “How you doing maam? I’m Captain Shook from the Hallandale Beach Police Department. The reason why I’m stopping you, you went west on a right hand turn only.”
It was rolling during this traffic stop and during the arrest of a man police say had two active warrants both every day events for law enforcement officers.
This Youtube video shows what can happen when every day police work takes a violent turn.
Despite all the shooting no one died and the entire incident was caught by the camera a Daytona Beach police officer was wearing.
Hallandale Beach would be the first in South Florida to use body cameras, but not everyone is a fan. The Vice Mayor says there’s privacy concerns to consider.
Vice Mayor Alexander Lewy: “With the idea that a police officer is going to respond to a 911 call with a camera on their shoulder might make some people even more hesitant to dial 911, and more crimes can go unreported.”
Commissioner Michele Lazarow, who proposed the use of cameras says they could save the city money when it comes to fighting lawsuits.
Commissioner Michele Lazarow: “One of the successes of this program says that there are going to be less frivolous complaints, and that’s going to help our officers. I believe that people are going to behave differently, or better even, when they know they are being videotaped.”
There are lots of decisions to be made before these “Cop Cams” hit the streets. If approved, the cost would be close to $100,000 for the first year but the images they capture could be priceless.