Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $80,000)
The City of Homestead, Florida is proposing to expand the current law enforcement Body Worn Camera program to include the outfitting of body worn cameras for forty (40) reserve officers.
The Homestead Police department began a community policing transformation in 1991 by being the first law enforcement agency in the State of Florida to integrate a social service unit into the police department. The goal of this integration was to provide the linkage between residents, police and social service providers in order to address the root cause of crime. Through this initiative we have built community support by being transparent and legitimizing all police interactions within the community. By doing so, this was the beginning of our community policing initiative. The police department has over the last 30 years been embodied in community based initiatives, often being the creator and facilitator of these initiatives in order to promote community interactions. The Body Worn Camera program is an integral component to our commitment of transparency and community inclusion in all that we do.
The police department gained approval from the City of Homestead Mayor and Council in October of 2020 to implement the Body Worn Camera program. The Homestead police department had already began working with Miami Dade Police Department (MDPD) in the development of a body worn camera policy and the State Attorney’s office on the use of body worn camera footage for evidentiary purposes. MDPD is the largest policing agency in the State of Florida to have a body worn camera program. MDPD was instrumental in ensuring the department was ready for full implementation which occurred in January 2021. To date we have 113 sworn officers outfitted with body worn cameras. We have developed a Body Worn Camera unit that consist of one Sergeant, one Detective and one Civilian, all three have an extensive background in technology and policing. This grant application is for stage two of implementation of the program, which is the outfitting of the 40 remaining officers. These officers are reserve officers, the majority are retired Homestead Police officers who continue to serve the community by working within the ranks of the police department. It is imperative that we have all officers who are serving the community outfitted with the body worn cameras yet we do not have the financial ability to do so, thus this application.