Surveillance camera controversy in West Palm beach - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Surveillance camera controversy in West Palm beach

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - 23 hours. That's the amount of time West Palm Beach City spokesman Elliot Cohen says West Palm Beach police security cameras save video. And Cohen says a detective didn't save video fast enough that could have been helpful in solving a May homicide.

"I know that it wasn't checked before it was overwritten,"  Cohen said.

The camera near Dunbar Village was close to where Travares Jefferson was killed in May.

It's unclear whether the camera footage would have shown anything at all.

But Travares' mother Juanita says a detective told her two days after the murder that the city-owned camera was not working.

"If the camera would have been on, they would have seen who did it," Juanita Jefferson said.

Others have also complained about whether the cameras are working.

And West Palm Beach City Commissioner Paula Ryan says she’s received complaints about the camera system.

Cohen says out of the 31 cameras, only 2 are not functioning.

"The cameras are operating and they are recording," Cohen said.

But the city's server only saves the video for twenty three hours, he said.

And Cohen says no one in the police department is monitoring the cameras.

"Is it a question of the police department making the decision to put someone in front of these cameras 24 hours a day, 7 days a week is that the best use of their time to use that tool... that’s a discussion they should probably have," Cohen said.

The city spent $70,000 on the cameras last year. And Cohen says there are plans to add more cameras.

Jefferson says she isn't sure who to believe about whether the cameras are functional.

"They say one thing and then someone else says another. I don't know for sure," Jefferson said.

Cohen says some of the cameras have foggy lenses and need to be cleaned.

He stops short of saying the detective made a mistake.

"I'm not going to second guess what a detective does or does not do. Obviously they've got a lot of work to do in a wake of a shooting," Cohen said.

West Palm Beach Police are not commenting on the situation, but the issue is expected to be brought up at the commission meeting Monday night.

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