Tonight Delray Beach city leaders will with the value of police body cameras. They’ll decide whether to outfit all of the city’s officers with a camera.
An extra eye watches Delray Beach police officers.
“It’s up close and personal,” said Training Officer Gerry Riccio.
Starting July 1, 2016, 20 officers started wearing body cameras to capture exactly what goes on.
“I don't even think they notice they're wearing them anymore,” said Riccio, who runs the program.
He pointed out the department was able to drop complaints against two officers based on video from body cameras. So far, there have been no cases of body camera video upholding a complaint, according to Riccio.
“It definitely makes us feel good that the cameras are protecting us and we're standing behind those videos to protect our officers,” he said.
So will more officers have that protection? Tuesday, Delray Beach city commissioners will vote whether to spend nearly $1 million over the next four years to equip every officer on the streets with a camera.
“I think it's a win-win scenario for the police officers for the community as a whole,” said Jamael Stewart.
He is a city employee and community activist. Stewart praised the job the police department does. But he said cameras would help build more trust between officers and the people they protect.
“This adds some security that our citizens in Delray will have that third eye watching over them,” Stewart said.
From a traffic stop, to a citizen complaint, soon more of what the department does could be recorded.
Riccio said the program worked smoothly during the trial period. He said phasing cameras in over four years will save the city money.