St. Johns County

‘A good move’: St. Augustine pastor applauds police body camera program

Training officers on using body cameras is already underway at the St. Augustine Police Department.

Come December, officers are expected to start using them.

In the eyes of Rev. Ron Rawls of St. Paul AME Church, this is a victory.

“Is it going to improve the trust between the community and the police department?” asked Lorena Inclán.

“Yeah, I think what transparency does is, it holds people accountable and when we have accountability it allows relationships to be strengthened,” said Rev. Rawls.

Action News Jax showed you Monday how city commissioners approved the purchase of 60 body cameras at more than $152,000.

Getting body cameras was on a list of requests Rev. Rawls made to the city back in June.

Also on that list was a push for diversity, equity and inclusion in every city decision.

“That means whenever they’re making a decision, even if it’s to pave a road, they have to look back at that objective and make sure that the decisions that they’re making fits the objectives,” said Rev. Rawls.

He said the city has come a long way including making sure both the police force and fire department attract a more diverse group of candidates, a far cry from the days when there were no Black people serving in those spaces.

“As long as we keep talking, I think we will continue to improve as a community,” said Rev. Rawls.

He now hopes other nearby agencies will follow the St. Augustine Police Department’s lead.