JSO closer to officers wearing body cameras

IT infrastructure funding approved at Tuesday night's City Council meeting

By Jenese Harris - Reporter/anchor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is one step closer to officers wearing body cameras.

City Council approved funding Tuesday night that will support the technology.

According to JSO, the IT infrastructure funding was approved Tuesday night. This is the foundation for the overall program. It's needed to move forward.

Community activist Ben Frazier said he has been calling for body cameras for three years.

"There was an incident at the Cleveland Arms apartments. Myself and several other community activists decided that, for accountability and improvement of trust, it might be a good idea to get bodycams," Frazier said.

An attorney said body cameras would have been good last year when Vernell Bing Jr. was shot and killed by a JSO officer. The incident is still under investigation, and their family has filed a lawsuit. Their attorney, Ronald Kurpiers, believes a body camera may have kept Bing alive.

"If we had had body camera, it would've been a dramatically different story," Kurpiers said. "I think it's a fantastic idea and long overdue, and I know the community leaders have asked for more transparency."

JSO plans to hear the public's concern about transparency and how bodycams will be used, but Frazier hopes they will do more than listen.

"Know we are not here to rubber stamp a plan that JSO puts together," Frazier said. "We think that we should be a part of the development of that policy and a part of the process, and we want the sheriff to listen to what we have to say."

A date has not been set for the first town hall meeting, but when it happens, Frazier said he wants to know.

The pilot program will begin in the spring or early summer.

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