Melbourne police begin body-worn camera pilot program

Department looks to have all officers wearing cameras by October

File photo.

MELBOURNE, Fla. – The Melbourne Police Department began a new body-worn camera pilot program on Wednesday.

The program will see 15 officers, from various divisions within the department, testing out the cameras for 30 days to make sure they work with the support infrastructure efficiently, according to a news release from Melbourne city leaders.

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Melbourne police plan to phase in 131 additional cameras following the pilot program, according to the release, with the goal of having all officers within the department using them by October 1.

“Body worn cameras have proven to increase transparency and provide an unbiased view of police and community encounters,” said Cheryl Mall, public information officer for the city, in a statement. “They also provide a safety mechanism for police officers and can capture valuable evidence, particularly when officers are assaulted or attacked. In other cities where body worn cameras have been used there have been notable decreases in citizen complaints as well as in use of force by police and assaults on officers.”

Melbourne City Council approved the purchase of the body-worn cameras in December, records show.

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About the Author:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.