Before Miami-Dade Police begin implementing body cameras starting next week, they allowed cameras into headquarters to demonstrate how the newly acquired cameras work.
The Miami-Dade Commission gave the green light to the police department in March after endorsing the plan less than a year ago.
"Why body cameras? Because it captures evidence where evidence did not exist before," said Juan Perez, Director of MDPD.
MDPD will join other local police agencies including Miami Police and Miami Beach Police in outfitting their road patrol officers with body cameras. It will cost about $5 million to equip 1,200 officers.
"We will first deploy cameras in the Midwest District, then the Northside District, then the Southside District, until all seven police districts are covered. Then we'll focus on the airport and Port of Miami," Perez said.
The cameras will attach either to the officer's shirt in the middle or on the pocket, and the wide angle lens will capture everything in view and the microphone will capture audio as well.
"No longer will we rely on a five-second video clip captured from somebody's cellphone that captures the back-end of an accident, where you see an officer using force. We will have this video from beginning to end," Perez explained.
The Miami-Dade Commission unanimously voted to fund the cameras, but Commissioner Barbara Jordan brought up a concern. The cameras, she noted, don't come on automatically, they have on-off buttons.
Perez said officers will be required to turn on their cameras ahead of every interaction with the public.
"Cameras do not capture the full story, but it does capture part of the story and that will be able to help us as we move forward," Perez said.
A newly-created web page has also been established to provide information and transparency on the use of the body cameras for the public and media.