JSO Says Body Cams Will Be Phased In, Starting With 200 Of Them

Jul 12, 2018

Jacksonville Mike Williams announced in 2016 most officers were on board with wearing body cameras and the department would be rolling them out after a pilot program.

Today, about two years later, JSO said sometime in the first quarter of fiscal year 2019, which includes the end of 2018, the department will issue 200 cameras divided among patrol personnel. That will continue in phases.  

Currently JSO is choosing which cameras it’ll use. That’s after it wrapped up a pilot program in May, testing different brands. The officers who wore the piloted cameras gave feedback including user interface and video review functionality. No officers are wearing body cameras today.

The agency already has money to purchase the cameras. It received a $997,956 federal grant in December. The grant fact sheet lays out that money is to go toward the first round of purchases and used for 1,113 cameras, a five-year warranty, software, unlimited data storage and 200 docking stations.

JSO said no technology costs have been budgeted into next year’s budget, but those costs will be in the following city budget because the grant will have ended.

In addition, JSO’s body worn camera policy is still under review with the Fraternal Order of Police. Until any updates are made, officers will adhere to the initial policy posted last year.

JSO held six community meetings about body cameras. Over the last year some community activists have been critical over JSO’s rollout of the program, saying the agency should have asked for input earlier.

In 2016, the sheriff’s community task force on transparency recommended officers wear the cameras.

Reporter Lindsey Kilbride can be reached at lkilbride@wjct.org, 904-358-6359 or on Twitter at@lindskilbride.