After controversy followed a recent traffic stop in which an unarmed man was shot by police, South Miami commissioners agreed to hire a company to provide body cameras for officers.
The city commission met at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 5.
The main item
Michael Gavins survived being shot Nov. 15 by police after being pulled over at a Coral Gables gas station and charged with intent to sell, possession of marijuana, and resisting an officer without violence.
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The commission voted 4-1, with Commissioner Josh Liebman dissenting, to enter into a five-year agreement with Taser International to provide body worn cameras to the police department.
“When we first looked at these, we looked into three types of body cameras,” Police Chief Rene Landa said to the commission. “We brought the people in, we grabbed them and wore them for one, two, three months on three different shifts where I had them first test them during that time. There was a lot of griping during that time and statements made. It goes across the county like that.”
“This is another tool. It’s not the tool. It’s just another one,” he said. “Something new that a lot of the agencies have really caught on since it first came out. A lot of agencies are going to it.”
Deferred voting: The commission voted to defer an ordinance amending the land development code and defining the term “less restrictive” to more accurately determine what voting requirements apply to the commission’s actions to amend land development regulations.
Vertical story height: An ordinance to amend the land development code and vertical story floor height maximum in the Transit Oriented Development District failed, with only Liebman supporting the item.
Selling cats and dogs: The commission voted 4-1, with Liebman dissenting, to amend the code of ordinance and add a section relating to the retail sale of cats and dogs. The commission believes that restricting the sale of cats and dogs in the city will promote community awareness of animal welfare and foster a more humane environment in the city.
They said it
“My feeling was, and I think it’s much stronger now, and the manager has come to the same feeling … is that there is that one incident where you really want the things,” Mayor Philip Stoddard said from the dais regarding cameras and police. “It’s like an insurance policy. It’s a lot of money to spend but when you need it, there it is. For your everyday, day-to-day stuff you can do without. But for when the one thing happens where there is a question about what happened, there is nothing like a video to untangle the truth. Then you don’t have to rely on one person’s word against another.”
The next meeting
When: 7 p.m. Jan. 19
Where: City Hall, 6130 Sunset Dr., South Miami