Fort Pierce police will soon use body cameras

Fort Pierce police will soon use body cameras

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The Fort Pierce police chief says she is prepared to put body cameras on all of her officers by the start of the summer.

In a community meeting Wednesday night, Fort Pierce Police Chief Diane Hobley-Burney updated Fort Pierce residents on the work the department is doing to build trust and be transparent within the community.

She detailed training that officers have gone through over the last year, community outreach officers have done, and said crime rates are going down.

"We're in the process of rebuilding our police department," said Hobley-Burney.

Part of her plan, she said, includes training officers to use new body cameras, with a goal of having nearly 100 of her 116 officers wearing them at all times. The cameras would be worn by all officers who are in the field.

"We have nothing to hide," Hobley-Burney said.

She also said the Fort Pierce Police Department is set to become the first law enforcement agency in the country to outfit every officer with the specific type of body camera she has chosen.

The camera, which attaches onto the officer's uniform in the middle of their chest, would be turned on manually before every encounter with a citizen.

But, what makes this camera unique is that it will automatically turn on if an officer pulls their weapon out of its holster.

It will record 30 seconds in advance of the gun being pulled, and continue recording even after the gun is back in the holster.

This is good news to Fort Pierce residents who demanded that the department be more transparent following the officer involved shooting in 2016 that killed Demarcus Semer.

Residents at the meeting, like Pinkie Hendley, say they are pleased by the departments progress to improve community relationships since the shooting.

"They've done some wonderful things. They've been out in the community. They've been active in the community. Now instead of [children] running away, they're having that relationship with officers," Henley said.

Hobley-Burney will be hosting two more meetings about the department's progress in the last year at the following locations and times:

Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Triumph the Kingdom of God in Christ Church - 502 N. 19th St., and 6 p.m. Thursday at Chapel by the Sea, 1717 Gulfstream Ave.

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