TPD initiates trial period for body cameras

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By: Alex Crescenti | WCTV Eyewitness News
April 16, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- The Tallahassee Police Department is testing six new body cameras in hopes of having all officers wearing them in the coming months.

Traffic officers have been wearing cameras for about six years, but only on the chest, which sometimes presented problems when an officer was in a shooting stance.

TPD says the new body cams can be worn on the shoulder, lapel or helmet (for bicycle or motorcycle officers).

Officials said testing began Thursday.

TPD says they hope the cameras will lead to more transparency with the public.

"The new thing now is 'Do they have the camera? Do they have the cameras with them? Can we watch the video?' Obviously, that's very popular in the culture now," said Officer Robert Adams. "We want to make sure everyone sees that we do have the cameras and that we do record what we do on a daily basis and make sure we give the citizens the great service that we give them anyway."

Officer Adams is one of the six traffic officers with TPD testing the new cameras. Only having the devices for a few days now, there is still an adjustment period.

"It's a little different having it on your shoulder, I'm used to wearing it on my chest, so it's a little different just when you look at the video it's a little awkward at first," said Adams.

The plan is to have every one of the more than 400 sworn officers and investigators wearing one. This will all be funded by a federal grant of $675,000 over the next two years. The city will pay an additional $800,000 and then nearly $500,000 each year after that.

"It gives the opportunity for the citizens to actually see the dangers we go through on a daily basis whether it's an unknown risk traffic stop, a felony arrest or just a normal citizen contact on the side of the street," said Adams.

Residents we talked to fully support the department having better cameras.

"It's kind of a tough issue because you have to see one thing through the officers eyes and their training and what they experience on a day to day basis, so transparency is necessary," said Abdul Edwards.

There is a minimum 30-day testing period with the cameras before the department decides to buy them or not. The hope is to have all of their officers wearing them by the end of the year.


By: WCTV Eyewitness News
April 13, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- The Tallahassee Police Department has initiated a trial period for testing and evaluating body-worn cameras on officers.

TPD says the trial started on April 12, and will run for "a minimum of 30 days." During the trial, six officers will wear the "Axon" body cameras on their normal duty assignments to conduct tests and evaluate the quality of the equipment.

Officials say this is the next step toward issuing body-cams to all of its sworn members, and that the cameras are meant to increase transparency, improve their relationship with the community, aid in the capturing of evidence for criminal cases and show firsthand the dangers that the officers face on a daily basis.

TPD says officers are not obligated to inform people when they are being recorded, but the camera should be in plain view; attached to either the officer’s collar or shoulder.

Officials say TPD officers will not be able to show community members footage, and that anyone who wishes to review body-cam footage is asked to email TPDpublicrecords@talgov.com, and TPD will process the request as long as it is in compliance with public record laws.



 
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