Officers could see body camera footage under House bill


Law-enforcement officers could review footage taken by their body cameras before writing reports about incidents, under legislation that is ready to go before the full House.

The House Judiciary Committee voted unanimously Thursday in favor of the legislation (HB 305), sponsored by Rep. Shawn Harrison, R-Tampa.

A similar measure in the Senate (SB 624) has drawn unanimous support from the Criminal Justice Committee and hearings in two more Senate committees.

“Anything we can do to help them ... is something we as a Legislature should undertake,” said Rep. Joe Geller, D-Aventura. “Particularly when we're talking about these body cameras that I think are an asset to all sides of the situation, because they show the truth.”

Rep. Danny Burgess, R-Zephyrhills, said he was surprised law enforcement officers aren't already able to review the footage.

“To me this is an absolute no-brainer,” Burgess said. “Especially as of late, they (law-enforcement officers) seem to be under an intense and heightened level of scrutiny.”

The measure --- supported by the Florida Sheriffs Association, Florida Police Chiefs Association and Florida Police Benevolent Association --- would allow officers to see and hear recordings from their cameras.

It would be up to local law-enforcement agencies to come up with policies and procedures about how the officers could review the footage.

Harrison has said viewing their body-camera footage should help officers remember what happened during calls.

Gov. Rick Scott signed into law a measure last year that allows law-enforcement agencies that want to use body cameras to establish policies and procedures addressing the proper use, maintenance and storage of the cameras and recorded data.