All Palm Beach Gardens Police officers will now be wearing body cameras. Training on the new Axon Body 2 cameras wrapped up last week.
On her 9th year as an Officer for the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department, Officer Jeneve Labossiere has a new perspective of the job.
"All we have to do is just double tap the large button and it will start filming," said Officer Labossiere.
It's her first day using the department's newly issued body worn cameras. The body camera is mounted on the chest instead of the shoulder or collar like we've seen with other agencies.
"The field of view is a little bit better, meaning you get more out in front of the camera and also the audio technology is a lot better," said Assistant Chief James Stormes with the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department.
The axon body 2 cameras are attached to the officer's uniform with a magnet, making it extremely difficult for it to shift or fall off even in a scuffle.
"They’re actually starting to see the value for themselves and for the department of having the cameras on," said Chief Stormes about the officers.
Assistant Chief Stormes says officers are required to turn the body cameras on during any interaction with a person. They may only turn the body camera off if the encounter is non-confrontational, say a citizen asking for directions.
"We've listed a number of different types of calls that are mandatory, obviously if you’re at a traffic stop or any time of a disturbance," added Chief Stormes.
After the death of 31-year-old Corey Jones at the hands of a Palm Beach Gardens Police officer last October, the department and the community came together to push for body cameras.
"I think it definitely accelerated the process," said Chief Stormes.
Corey's aunts and uncles met with representatives from the city and the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department numerous times to review the progress of the program. The Banks Family releeasing this statement as a result of the newly implemented body cameras:
"On behalf of Bishop Sylvester and Mrs Banks the grandparents of our beloved Corey Jones. Our family would like to thank Palm Beach Gardens for being proactive in their efforts in completing the Body Worn Cameras program.
My daughter Sheila Banks and son Terry Banks had several opportunities to sit-in the training classes and are impressed with the initial lead by Chief Stepp, assist Chief Stormes, City Manager and Council.
We believe that this is a first step in the legacy for Corey Jones who spent his life helping others and his professional life as a Manager with the Delray Housing Authority.
We commend the Palm Beach Gardens police department for listening to our cry after Corey's death for the Body Cameras and continued to update us on the process," said the Banks Family.
Corey Jones' brother CJ also commenting via text message in reaction to the body cameras: "That is good news for the department and the citizens in the neighborhood. At least it gives us a sense that things are moving in the right direction, this is just a start."
People can make public records requests to obtain body camera video that is not part of an active investigation. The department feels this will add transparency and continue the rebuilding of trust between police and the community.
"It's good for both sides. Each person, you get to actually see what happened," added Officer Labossiere.
Chief Stormes says in the fall, a software update to the body camera technology will link the officer's tasers to the camera. If a police officer discharges his or her taser, their body camera and the body camera of any officer standing within 20 to 30 feet of the discharged taser will automatically begin recording.