Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $592,000)
The City of Port St. Lucie is an urban community located on the Southeast Coast of Florida. The City serves a population of 201,846 (U.S. Census population estimates as of 7/1/2019) spread over an area of about 120 square miles. The City has seen its population increase 127% since the 2000 U.S. Census figure of 88,769 and by about 23% since 2010 (164,603 – U.S. Census). This growth has brought with it considerable challenges.
The Port St. Lucie Police Department (PSLPD) is seeking a Body-Worn Camera Policy and Implementation Program to support Law Enforcement Agencies (BWCPIP-LEA) grant for new body-worn camera (BWC) implementation. PSLPD seeks a federal grant in the amount of $592,000 ($2,000 per officer) to support the implementation of its BWC program over the 3-year grant period.
With the substantial population growth in the City of PSL, PSLPD has seen an increase in interaction between police officers and citizens. Increased citizen interaction brings the potential for conflict to arise. PSLPD believes that BWCs can be highly effective providing objective audio and visual records of encounters that can capture evidence in the event of a crime, police interaction with citizens, or in the event of a use-of-force incident. This innovative technology can be a promising tool to provide transparency, assist in de-escalating conflicts, and strengthen accountability to both police officers and citizens alike. This can provide a clearer understanding of the events happening in the field.
PSLPD will collect data on a continual basis to measure the effectiveness of its BWC program. Key metrics will be number of cases involving Digital Multimedia Evidence (DME); number of officer complaints; number of use of force incidents; and number of lawsuits against PSLPD. The agency believes that investigators, prosecutors, judges, and citizens alike will benefit from this BWC program.