Body Camera Legislation Inches Closer to Becoming Law of the Land in Florida
Over the last few years, distrust against law enforcement has grown steadily due to several incidents of excess force that have been reported around the United States. Lawmakers, as a result of the notoriety of these cases, have begun to brainstorm for better ways to manage and deter police officers from excess force and to ensure they think twice when taking action in potentially precarious situations. One of the biggest trends to grow out of these cases of excess force is the creation and pervasive use of body cameras. The Florida legislature opened up the discussion detailing the ins and outs of body camera use in 2015, and in the last month, there has been a considerable push to make the law surrounding body cameras effective.
Florida House Bill 93: The Body Camera Rules and Regulations
Florida House Bill 93 identifies the rules, regulations and procedures regarding body camera use by law enforcement. This is on the heels of nearly 24 police departments or sheriff’s offices around the state that have either adopted body cameras as standard operating practice or have begun pilot programs to better understand the body camera technology and its use within the departments. Florida House Bill 93 require that set standards for the use, maintenance and storage of body cameras are established and training is provided to those officers who would use the body cameras. Standards are incorporated to ensure that body camera footage is periodically reviewed to ensure best practices and conformity among the users.
Issues Surrounding Body Camera Legislation
Opponents of the body camera legislation cite several issues that they state make the law ineffective. First and foremost, the law does not require all police agencies and law enforcement divisions to adopt body cameras. It would be up to the department to dictate whether or not body cameras should be included in standard operating procedures. This could lead to inconsistencies throughout the state if one department declines to use body camera technology while another decides to utilize the technology.
Another issue that has been considerable is that opponents of the legislation believe that body cameras infringe on privacy of citizens. However, the legislation seeks to rectify these issues by including a prohibition of public disclosure of body camera images if the camera has depicted a scene that takes place in a private home, hospital, or a medical emergency. The standard for determining whether privacy has been infringed upon is to establish that the person in question had a reasonable expectation of privacy.
The Overall Effect of Body Cameras on Deterring Police Misconduct
Overall, studies and reports that have been published have shown a significant impact that body cameras have had on deterring police misconduct. Studies have shown that body cameras not only deter excessive use of force, but also decrease the frequency of situations that usually escalate into forceful ones. Body cameras also protect police officers, as well as citizens, by shedding light on good police practices, not just the bad ones. Body cameras depict what actually happened in any given situation, which can exculpate police officers charged with misconduct.
Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney in Fort Lauderdale
Excessive force and police misconduct has been on the rise around the United States. Body camera technology could be used to not only depict incidences of excessive force but also your innocent behavior. An experienced defense attorney like Kevin J. Kulik can advocate on your behalf and guide you through the criminal justice system. Contact Kevin J. Kulik today for a free and confidential consultation in the Fort Lauderdale area.