JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville attorney has offered to give up to $15,000 to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office for it to get body cameras.
Randy Reep frequently shares his legal opinions and analysis with News4Jax.
But Tuesday night, Reep shared his motivation to get the ball rolling for police body cameras.
He said other cities in Florida and across the country are employing them. He also said it’s about his respect for local officers.
”We’d like to sponsor a pilot program to get body cameras flowing into JSO,” Reep said.
Reep said he wants police to have body cameras because he believes they will cut costs, not increase them.
He pointed to a study in California that found every $1 spent on cameras saves $4 in litigation.
Reep also believes officers deserve them as a defense to what people saw when video appeared last week of a Jacksonville officer striking a handcuffed woman.
“I will tell you, I’m offering it up largely on my feelings for the police department. And the admiration I have for JSO. The vast majority of officers are not that jackal we saw Friday night. But they get accused of that, and get painted with that broad brush. And that’s wrong,” Reep said.
Some police chiefs and sheriffs worry about privacy in homes, the legality of body camera video, plus the anticipated surge in open records requests.
Reep said that can all be handled.
“You’re going to see police unions and ACLU being in lockstep with this becayse there are a lot of privacy concerns. There are ways to policy that, and mitigate those risks down. And those gains, I think, far exceed those risks,” Reep said.
But there’s a caveat to Reep’s proposal. He wants an explanation of the body cameras in each cruiser, telling people Reep’s office provided the video of their encounter with law enforcement.
Reep also said research points to better behavior both by officers and citizens when they know they’re being recorded on video.
News4Jax reached out to the Sheriff’s Office about the offer, but has not yet heard back.
Last week, however, Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams told News4Jax that he was in favor of the cameras, but couldn’t afford them.