By a unanimous vote, the Miami Beach City Commission approved the use of body cameras by Miami Beach Police and other departments during a commission meeting Wednesday night.
“There is greater accountability to the residents and visitors to this community when they are interacting; whether it’s with law enforcement or parking officials or building inspectors,” said Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy L. Morales.
The city will budget $3 million to purchase cameras over the next five years. Miami Beach Police will get the initial 50-60 cameras with parking, code, fire, and building departments each receiving five cameras.
Miami Beach officials said the city will use cameras manufactured by the company, Taser.
The approval by the city of Miami Beach comes just a few weeks after Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez called for all county police officers to wear body cameras. The mayor says he's ordering 500 cameras that would attach to a pair of sunglasses for his patrol officers.
"The body cam is a way to assure that there's confidence in the police department, that if they had been wearing a body cam say in the incident that happened in Missouri, there would be no debate to what exactly happened," Gimenez said.
Gimenez said he eventually wants every patrol officer in the county to have a body camera.
And the technology has plenty of support from voters in the Sunshine State.
More than two-thirds of Florida voters support the idea of placing body cameras on police officers to record their interaction with the public, according to a poll released Wednesday.
Minorities favor the idea by a much greater percentage than white respondents, according to the Mason/Dixon poll conducted for Sachs Media Group, a Tallahassee-based public relations firm.
Overall, 68 percent of registered voters support the idea of police body cameras, devices that can be mounted on uniform lapels that capture video much like dashboard cameras do. The poll shows 82 percent of non-white respondents favor the idea while 62 percent of white respondents approve.
"Floridians believe the truth may be best served by having photographic evidence about police/public interaction, so that if and when there are disputes over what happened, the pictures may tell the story best," said Ron Sachs, president of the firm.
The issue increasingly has been debated since the shooting of an unarmed black 18-year-old last month in Ferguson, Missouri. A growing number of departments across the country are using body cameras in addition to or instead of dashboard cameras.
The poll of 625 likely voters was has a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points.