If you have ever been stopped by an officer in Florida, you may have noticed that they were wearing a body camera. The use of these cameras by law enforcement officials has been increasing and may be one avenue via which defendants get new insight into their defense options. The video footage captured by a police camera may expose errors in how an officer conducted an investigation or managed an arrest such as when pursuing a potential drunk driving arrest.
According to the Florida Statutes, the state legislature requires that any law enforcement agency that opts to use police body cameras must develop detailed guidelines surrounding the training, use and storage of the equipment as well as the video footage. These guidelines must include details about when and where video footage will be stored and who may view it. Also to be included are parameters around the maintenance and storage of the actual camera equipment.
Police departments or other agencies that use body cameras are required to identify the situations or locations in which cameras will be allowed to be turned on and actively filming and when or where filming may be prohibited. Every department is responsible for its own set of policies and procedures regarding these cameras.
This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give residents in Florida an overview of how the state attempts to govern the use of body cameras by police and the footage that is captured during a stop or arrest.