Miami-Dade police introduce new body-worn cameras

Officers will soon be equipped with cameras for law enforcement interactions

DORAL, Fla. – The Miami-Dade Police Department on Thursday displayed the new body-worn cameras with which officers will soon be equipped.

By the end of June, 350 body-worn cameras will be deployed. About 1,000 will be in place by the end of September.

Officers will be required to record any law enforcement interaction, but they will be given the discretion not to do so under certain circumstances.

Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez gave an example of an officer called to a sick or injured person.

"What do they find? An elderly male naked in a bathtub (who) fell and cannot get up," Perez said. "So do we want that captured? No, we do not."

Officers who don't record interactions could be disciplined, but Perez called the cameras new and evolving technology and said it will take time for officers to get used to it.

John Rivera, president of the Miami-Dade police union, said the training period for officers will be two or three days.

"They are giving the training officers four hours, so the actual officers are probably going to receive less than that," Rivera said.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said the cameras aren't just for catching officers doing something wrong.

"When somebody complains against an officer who has a body-worn camera, our experience or experience of other agencies that have used it indicate that 93 percent of the time, the officer's version of events was the correct version," Gimenez said.

The cameras, which can run a full day on a single charge, will cost about $5 million over the next five years, but $1 million of the cost comes from a federal government grant.