State Representative Shevrin Jones Files Police Body Camera Bill
By Space Coast Daily // September 4, 2015
TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – Problems don’t disappear just because legislation doesn’t pass. State Representative Shevrin Jones, D-West Park, has again introduced HB 93 regarding police body cameras.
Representative Jones had similar legislation during the last session, but a series of factors conspired to keep that proposal from final passage despite significant progress being made.
The underlying reasons for proposing guidelines on the use of body cameras still exist and this legislation remains important and necessary.
“If we want to start seeing change in tense police-civic relations, these body cameras are a necessity. If it did not go through last year, it’s my duty and responsibility to ensure it does during this upcoming legislative session,” Jones said.
“It’s meant to ensure both public and police safety. That’s the most important thing,” Jones said.
The bill establishes guidelines for law enforcement agencies that authorize body cameras to ensure proper use, maintenance, & storage of the cameras and data.
HB 93 also requires specified personnel are trained; that data be retained in compliance with Florida’s open-records laws; and requires periodic review of each agency’s body camera policies.
“With the implementation of this technology, we can create a better sense of safety overall; we can hold these officers accountable for misconduct; as well as protect our law enforcements officers who strive to certify our safety every day,” said Rep. Jones.
Representative Jones has met and spoken with various law enforcement agencies across the state, including the Florida Sheriff’s Association, the Florida Police Benevolent Association, and Florida State Lodge for the Fraternal Order of Police.
“HB 93 is not about right and wrong — it’s centered on platforms of justice and safety,” said Representative Jones.
“I am truly looking forward to this bill passing this legislative session. We cannot afford for this to die again.”
The Obama administration began a program May 1, 2015 to assess the success of having officers wear body cameras that can record interactions with the public. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the program will help jurisdictions with the purchase of 50,000 body-worn cameras and make assessments available of how successful the program is.