The Fort Pierce Police Department unveiled a new body camera program that costs nearly half a million dollars. The department has a five-year contract for the cameras, and they’ve trained all of their law enforcement officers to use them. The move to body cameras is the result of an investigation into an April 2016 traffic stop that killed a citizen. Although the officers involved didn’t face criminal charges, the grand jury recommended that the department use body cameras.
Public pressure also weighed in on the department’s decision to use the cameras. Citizens worry about police transparency and department accountability, so that they don’t need a Fort Pierce criminal defense attorney to defend against false charges. The department says that technology developments have made it both reasonable and expected to have body cameras on officers who are out on patrol and responding to complaints.
Typically, a body camera rolls at all times. However, when the officer pushes a button, the camera saves the previous thirty seconds of footage and records continuously from then on. Officers are supposed to activate their cameras when they’re doing anything more serious than having a routine conversation. Fort Pierce’s cameras also activate when an officer draws their weapon.
Police departments say that while the cameras come with a hefty price tag, it’s important for both the police officer and the citizen to have a record of what happens during a police interaction. They say that other departments who use the cameras have seen reduced numbers of complaints against police since implementing the cameras. They say the cameras keep the officers professional and the citizens polite.
If you’re facing criminal charges, it’s important to work with a Fort Pierce criminal defense attorney to address the charges against you. A Fort Pierce criminal lawyer can help you get a copy of any body camera footage that might exist in your case. Law enforcement knows that they have to turn over any evidence that they have that might work in your favor. However, they don’t always do so voluntarily. That makes it important to work with a body camera criminal lawyer in order to fully exercise your rights under Florida law.
If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges, please contact The Law Office of Jeffrey H. Garland, P.A. at 772.489.2200. Jeffrey’s team knows that footage from a body camera might just be your best defense. As an experienced and enthusiastic Fort Pierce criminal lawyer, Jeffrey helps each client aggressively defend their case. Contact Jeffrey H. Garland today to make a game plan for your best defense.