• JSO: It will be another 3-5 months before officers wear body cameras again

    By: Jenna Bourne, Action News Jax

    Updated:

    The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office says officers will not wear body cameras again until October at the earliest.

    The announcement comes following an Action News Jax investigation that uncovered the city quietly ended its pilot program.

    Action News Jax asked JSO on Sunday and Monday for a timeline of when we can expect to see the body camera program expand.

    JSO spokesperson Officer Melissa Bujeda would not answer our question at the time, but emailed out a press release just after midnight on Thursday shedding some light on the program’s next steps.

    The JSO release said not a single Jacksonville officer has worn a body camera since May.

    That’s when the agency said it sent back its final wave of test cameras to their vendor.

    In all, officers tested three vendors’ cameras, about 30 cameras at a time, for three months at a time.

    JSO plans to purchase about 200 cameras to start, but they won’t be issued to patrol officers until the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2019, a timeframe of October – December 2018.

    JSO and the Fraternal Order of Police are still negotiating about the body camera policy JSO put out a year ago.

    “We’ve got it almost all the way ironed out,” said Jacksonville FOP President Steve Zona. “When negotiations first started, the agency had, like... 26 or 27 things you had to turn the camera on for. And we said no. Turn them on all the time.”

    The police union president said one of the final issues they’re negotiating is when an officer is allowed to turn off their camera after a critical incident like an officer-involved shooting.

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    “We’d really like to see it be when the suspect, whoever you’re involved with in a critical incident, when he’s no longer a threat, you should be able to turn your camera off because now you’re going to be a subject in an investigation,” said Zona.

    Action News Jax asked Bujeda on Thursday if JSO has selected which company it will purchase body cameras from. We also asked to interview Sheriff Mike Williams or Department of Police Service Director Tony Davis bout the rollout of the program.

    Bujeda did not respond to our questions.

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