Lawmakers vote for uniformity throughout state on body cameras

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - For police departments around the state using body cameras, they’re using their own guidelines. Lawmakers voted to change that and make sure everyone’s on the same page.

The bill cleared both the Florida House and Senate unanimously. Nearly 30 departments around the state have some type of body camera program in place.

When the family of Corey Jones -- a man who was killed last October by a plain clothes Palm Beach Gardens police officer while waiting for a tow truck -- went to the Capitol last month, they wanted the governor to hear them clearly: Police departments need body camera rules.

"Let me pass this law," said Clinton Jones, Corey Jones' father. "Not only for my son, for other sons, other daughters. This is not just for Corey."

A month later, the governor will decide if police around the state will adhere to new uniform policies.

The Senate passed a bill Monday that sets up guidelines for departments currently using the cameras.

Jones’ case was one of the many that supporters used to emphasize the need for the bill.

“Senators, we’ve seen around the country a disturbing trend of young minority, both Hispanic and African-American and others be killed in issues and scenarios where we didn’t know what happened," Sen. Darren Soto said. "And it could have been our law enforcement officers were in the right, or there could have been civil rights violated.”

Supporters said the bill won’t just help potential victims, but also law enforcement.

"It's something that will help exonerate both parties," Sen. Oscar Braynon said. "It's not about whether one side is right more than the other. It's about the truth. That's what this bill is about."

The bill doesn’t mandate police departments use the technology. Palm Beach Gardens police weren’t using them at the time of Jones’ shooting, so the bill wouldn’t have been able to help had it already been a law at the time.

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