Police in Boynton Beach could begin wearing body cameras

City commission to vote on proposal Tuesday
Posted at 5:56 AM, Jan 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-17 05:59:19-05

Boynton Beach could be the next city to outfit its police officers with body cameras. City leaders should vote on a proposal Tuesday night.

The plan is to buy 80 body cameras for the police department. The department proposes using $49,737 from a forfeiture trust fund to buy the cameras. Storing videos will cost the public $512,046 over the next five years.

If commissioners approve the proposal, you can expect to see Boynton Beach officers with the body cameras on the street by March.

In a memo, Police Chief Jeff Katz advocated for buying the cameras. He wrote using cameras will increase transparency within the department.

“Transparency is a benefit because it will show to the community the department’s willingness to open itself up to outside scrutiny. Transparency can also demonstrate to the community that officers aim to act in a fair and just manner when interacting with citizens, also known as procedural justice. Transparency leads to public trust and trust benefits the community,” Katz wrote.

The cameras give an unedited version of what happens. That can help internal affairs resolve complaints against officers. It can also allow the department to train officers with examples of different scenarios.

Boynton Beach would join West Palm Beach, Delray Beach and Palm Beach Gardens as cities in the county with police body cameras.

The Boynton Beach City Commission meets at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall to address the proposal.