The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has been in the process of rolling out police body cameras for about a year.
However, residents and police unions are asking for a say in the policy surrounding the recording devices.
JSO has committed to requiring officers wear body cameras. Sheriff Mike Williams told City Councilors Tuesday a pilot is expected to be launched in late spring or early summer.
But Ben Frazier of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference said JSO should have been considering community input from day one.
“It’s one year late is what I’m saying,” he said. “Somebody is missing something here. Somebody is not getting it. This is a community issue. Where is the community?”
Frazier, who advocates for Jacksonville’s Northside community, said the SCLC won’t negotiate when it comes to certain issues, including transparency when developing policy, not allowing officers to review their footage before filing a report, and strict consequences for officers who don’t follow the policy.
Williams said JSO is still in the research stage, including compiling best practices from other police forces that already use cameras. JSO also has concerns to tackle, like the huge amount of storage required, and possible lawsuits if footage is lost.
He said community input will be included, but he doesn't have a timeframe.
“We have not gotten to that point yet and again the policy is going to be constantly changing,” Williams said. “You’re going to have lots of input from officers, you’re going to have input again from the state attorney’s Office. You’re going to have input from many stakeholders.”
At the same time, Fraternal Order of Police wants a say in the policy too. As our partner News4Jax reports, the union is asking that its input on a body camera policy be written into its collective bargaining agreement. However, Williams said JSO’s position is the policy is not subject to bargaining.
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Reporter Lindsey Kilbride can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 904-358-6359 or on Twitter at @lindskilbride.