C I T Y  O F  F O R T  P I E R C E
 
POLICE COMMUNITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE
MINUTES


 
SPECIAL MEETING - Wednesday, July 1, 2020 - 4:30 p.m.
Fort Pierce City Hall, Commission Chambers, 100 N US Highway 1, Fort Pierce, FL


 
Present: Melvin Jones, Sr.; Charles Hayek; Dr. Pinkie Hendley; Derrick Gibbons
Absent: James Edwards
Staff Present: Sergeant Jason Braun
             
1. CALL TO ORDER
             
2. OPENING PRAYER
  Member Hendley prayed.
             
3. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
             
4. ROLL CALL
  Motion was made by Derrick Gibbons, seconded by Melvin Jones, Sr. to excuse Member Edwards absence from the meeting.
 
AYE: Charles Hayek, Derrick Gibbons, Melvin Jones, Sr., Dr. Pinkie Hendley
Passed
             
5. APPROVAL OF MINUTES
             
A. Minutes from the June 11, 2020 meeting are not ready. They will be included in the July 9, 2020 meeting agenda.
             
6. COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC
Any person who wishes to comment on any subject on this Agenda may be heard at this time. Please sign the sign-up sheet in order to speak. Please limit your comments to no more than three (3) minutes, as this section of the Agenda is
limited to thirty minutes. The Police Community Advisory Committee will not be able to take any official action under “Comments from the Public” section.
  None.
             
7. OLD BUSINESS
             
A. None.
             
8. NEW BUSINESS
             
A. Review of body camera function, Body Camera Policy, and forming a recommendation for amending the Code of Ordinances to incorporate the Department’s Body Worn Camera policy with a provision for legal ramifications for noncompliance.
  Mr. Sweeney provided a synopsis of his role as City Attorney as well as the role of the Police Community Advisory Committee. He explained that due to nature of the meeting, his input was not needed until after the Committee deliberates on the Body Camera Policy and makes its recommendation to the City Commission.

Member Hayek enquired of Mr. Sweeney if he could take questions. Mr. Sweeney in response said no and that it would be pre-mature of him to provide legal guidance on the matter.  Member Jones sought clarification on the legal guidance that would be provided. Mr. Sweeney assured the Committee that once their recommendations were submitted to Commission, and there was a need for legal guidance it would be provided.

(Mr. Sweeney left the meeting)

Staff Braun made a presentation on the use of the body worn camera system, its security features, the Police Department’s Policy on the use of the camera as well as the checks and balances in place to ensure accountability and transparency.

Member Jones asked if officers are allowed to wear the camera in hospital.  Staff Braun said yes.  He also outlined that undercover officers in plain clothes were exempted from wearing the camera but are required to do so in the event they go to serve an arrest warrant. Staff Braun informed the meeting that citizens can request that an officer’s camera be turned off, and also in cases where discretion has to exercised. He noted that the information on the camera also comply to public record and privacy guidelines.

A discussion followed on the procedures in the Policy for uploading information from the camera. It was pointed out that it took approximately five (5) hours to complete the cycle of uploading information from the camera and to have it charged. Member Hayek made reference to three (3) instances in the Policy where officers are obligated to upload the information from the camera.  Making the verbiage consistent to end of shift or end of tour of duty was suggested for clarity.

With regards to the security of the information on the camera, Staff Braun informed members that the data cannot be tampered with.  Officers are only allowed to view the information on the camera, and the system keeps track of how often the information is accessed by producing a report.  Redacting of the information from the camera can only be done on the copy version. Member Pinkey enquired if the camera was water resistant. Staff Braun said yes. He also outlined that the Department has recently procured a new mounts for securing the camera on the officer’s person. 

As it relates to checks and balances, Staff Braun outlined that Road patrol sergeants do random checks on officers to see if the camera is being operated as stipulated in the policy. Also, when an officer’s camera is being reviewed because of an incident, the cameras of all the officers involved in that particular situation are checked as well.  Members were informed that the Quality Assurance Manager checks the supervisors’ inspection reports for validity and accuracy on a weekly basis.

A demonstration of how the body worn camera is operated was provided by Staff Braun and Officer Carter.  Once an officer turns on his or her camera it will activate other officer’s camera in close proximity. It was also pointed out that even if the officer is about to use his Taser, it will activate his camera as well as the cameras of other officers who are close.

Member Gibbons enquired about the disciplinary measures that are in place for officers who do not comply to the Body Camera Policy.  Staff Braun outlined that various measures are in place for officers who are non-compliant.  These range from written reprimands, loss of pay, suspension up to termination.

Staff Braun informed the meeting that the Body Worn Camera Policy was approved by the Commission. He pointed out that various Departments were surveyed in the drafting of the policy so that it can be a workable one.  Reference was made to the Miami Dade’s Camera Policy, and implications for officers who do not comply.

With regards to adherence to the policy, it was pointed out by Staff Braun that supervisors, the Accreditation Manager as well as the Quality Assurance Manager work together to ensure that this takes place.

 
  Motion was made by Dr. Pinkie Hendley, seconded by Derrick Gibbons The motion to make a statement with recommendations from the Committee to Commission to be included in the Conference Agenda on July 13, 2020.
 
AYE: Charles Hayek, Derrick Gibbons, Melvin Jones, Sr., Dr. Pinkie Hendley
Passed
             
9. STAFF COMMENTS
             
10. COMMITTEE MEMBER COMMENTS
  Member Hayek outlined that the verbiage of Policy for when officers are expected to upload information should be consistent in the document. This would provide clarity and avoid any confusion on the part of the staff.
 
Upon the review of the Body Worn Camera Policy, the demonstration of how the camera operates, and the internal checks and balances for the utilization of the camera, members agreed that the Policy should remain as is, and that no legal implications should be imposed on officers. Members were encouraged to send their comments to Member Hayek for the submission to the Commission.

Member Pinkey informed the meeting of the follow-up meeting for the Circle of Prayer and New Beginnings on Tuesday, July 14, 2020.

 
             
11. ADJOURNMENT
  6:25 pm.

    

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