MIAMI - The Miami Police Department is the latest law enforcement agencies to begin equipping its officers with lightweight cameras.
Called the Axon Flex, the cameras record video and audio of whatever the officer is seeing and is part of their uniforms. They were created by the same company which invented the Taser.
"It tells the truth about what transpired, that interaction between the officer and citizen. You get to see the entire angle," said Miami Police Maj. Ian Moffett. "At the same time, it allows that officer to go back, the supervisor to go back, and review it, and determine if something was done wrong."
The Miami Police Department recently began using the cameras as a training tool, but the department is considering outfitting each of its officers with one.
The cameras could help officers better write reports instead of relying on their memory of how events transpired.
"The fact that we can record a situation, a scenario in training, and then go back and look at it and show the student, the recruit, the officer what they did good, what they did bad, and improve on," said Moffett.
The system prevents officers from altering or enhancing the video. After each shift, the officer is required to turn the camera in and offload the video into a remote server, which automatically logs the names of everyone who views the recordings.
"No argument this is a good tool for training. But if you use them in the street - aren't there times that you're investigating something, things are confidential, that you don't want on camera?" Local 10 Crime Specialist John Turchin asked Miami Police Sgt. Dennis Jacobson.
"There are times that you don't want to have the record because maybe that person's concerned as a victim or a witness. They don't want their face recorded. And we've got to work with them," replied Jacobson.
Each camera costs about $2,000. Procedures for when and where the cameras are used and when they should be turned on and off are also being considered before they are put into use.
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