People’s emotions are again on edge nationwide because of two more deadly officer-involved shootings. Both incidents were caught on camera.
Yet, in the wake of the unrest across the nation, here at home we learned that one city on our Treasure Coast has decided against body cameras for its police department.
“We’re not at the point where we need this. Will we be in the future? Maybe. But we’re just not there now,” said Port St. Lucie Councilwoman Shannon Martin at a workshop this week.
The Port St. Lucie City Council decided the price was too high and the current need didn’t meet the price to invest in the new technology.
“We realized there was really only a few that would work for an organization like this,” said Police Chief John Bolduc, who said the city had asked him to look into the body cameras.
The chief said he looked into systems that could be implemented with their computerized dispatch system. And it all comes at a price, one that the city council decided not to pay.
“If you’re talking about the over all transparency of the organization, it would enhance that but I don’t think that the council and tax payers are ready to spend $689,000 dollars a year for it,” said the Chief.
The chief believes body cameras could be a benefit, but he says the technology is still evolving.
“I think there are still some things that are still to be learned when it comes to body worn cameras and it’s going to have a lot to do with the case law,” said Bolduc. “I certainly don’t want to see this society get to the point where if its not on video it didn’t happen.”
However, some people in Port St. Lucie disagree and want body cameras, even if it means tax payers foot the bill.
“Everyone would know more to the story if there’s cameras proving exactly what happened,” said Millissa Garvin.
The council directed the chief come back when he felt that the body camera technology had been thoroughly tested and if the chief felt like the cameras were need.