Miami-Dade County

Body cameras slated for Miami-Dade police

Miami-Dade wants the cameras rolling when its police officers go to work. The county plans to order about 500 “body cameras” to record patrol officers’ interactions with the public.

Next year’s proposed Miami-Dade budget earmarks $1 million for the purchase, which would create an unprecedented record of how the county’s police force conducts its business. Police body cameras have gotten more attention this week amid outrage over law-enforcement conduct in Ferguson, Mo., in the aftermath of a fatal police shooting.

Major Nancy Perez, a Miami-Dade police spokeswoman, said the agency had been looking at a camera program for years and that the purchase request still needs final approval by the mayor’s office and county commissioners. The cameras will record at all times on a loop. But in order to preserve the footage long-term, officers will need to turn the device into a “save” mode when they conduct a traffic stop or begin interacting with the public. She said the department plans to keep recordings about three months before destroying them.

Perez described the cameras as helpful to officers since they will provide a complete account of encounters that sometimes are the subject of misconduct allegations — and partial footage shot by civilians.

“You see the public is requesting for all police to be recorded. They’re always recording them with their phones,’’ she said. “This gives police a chance to record the public.”