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State Legislature Passes Police Body Camera Bill

On Behalf of | Mar 12, 2016 | Felonies

Whether during a routine traffic stop or an emergency call, the next time you find yourself interacting with a law enforcement official here in Florida, you may notice that they are carrying an entirely new piece of equipment.

Indeed, this equipment has nothing to do with investigation or apprehension, but rather capturing interactions. Specifically, you may notice the officer or trooper wearing a portable body camera.

Reports indicate that as recently as October 2015, 18 Florida law enforcement agencies were using body cameras and 10 more were in the process of conducting pilot programs.

Interestingly enough, this number may soon grow even higher if legislation sent to the desk of Governor Rick Scott earlier this week is signed into law.

House Bill 93, which passed both the House and Senate unanimously, would require the Sunshine State’s more than 300 law enforcement agencies to take steps to create departmental regulations and training protocol for body cameras.

While stopping short of mandating the use of body cameras, the bill’s sponsors — including Rep. Alan Williams (D-Tallahassee) and Sen. Chris Smith (D- Fort Lauderdale) — argue that it will nevertheless provide citizens with greater transparency and introduce greater accountability on the part of law enforcement.

This is the second piece of legislation concerning body cameras passed by the state legislature. Just last year, it advanced a measure clarifying what type of footage recorded by police body cameras would be exempted from disclosure under the state’s public records law.

What are your thoughts on this measure? Does it go far enough?

If you have been arrested for any sort of felony or misdemeanor, please consider speaking with an experienced legal professional who can protect your rights as soon as possible.