Body cameras for officers within first quarter

Body cameras for officers within first quarter
Minister of National Security Marvin Dames (file photo)

Govt. advancing talks with firm on tasers

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Police officers will be wearing body cameras within the next three to four months, according to Minister of National Security Marvin Dames.

The government yesterday signed a contract with Arizona-based firm Axon for 200 body cameras and 200 dash cameras at a cost of just under $700,000.

Dames indicated the timeframe will give the commissioner and his executive team time to develop and train officers in the use of the equipment.

He said the signing delivers on the government’s commitment to bring a greater level of accountability and transparency.

“This now calls for the highest level of professionalism; how officers approach members of the public; how they utilize their weapons and the tools that are given to them; how they use their vehicles,” Dames said on the sidelines following the signing at police headquarters.

“All of these things now will be put under tremendous scrutiny unlike ever before, but this is what we promised.”

Several viral videos purporting to show officers beating several men on the sidelines of the 2020 New Year’s Junkanoo Parade once again placed the police force under the spotlight.

Dames has said officers who abuse their power will not be tolerated.

The matter is being internally investigated.

According to officials, yesterday’s signing also represents the largest acquisition of body cameras in the region.

Dames underscored that technology combined with closed-circuit television cameras, ShotSpotter technology and drone surveillance will all aid the organization in fighting crime at a new level.

“This is technology at its best,” he said.

“We are right up there with any police organization in any development country.

“We are trailblazers in the Royal Bahamas Police Force and we’re grateful for that.

“This is all in an attempt to ensure Bahamians are safe and they feel safe, and those who visit our shores are safe as well.”

Axon producers less-lethal force weapons, including tasers.

Dames said the government is the preliminary phase of exploring the viability of the weapon for the police force.

“There is a good possibility that is something we can look at during the next fiscal period,” he said.

The minister called the signing historic.

He also said it will bring the public closer to the work of the police force.

“This will certainly bring to the fore… because the officer can’t change it,” Dames said.

“Once those cameras go live it’s not like going in and erasing it because you can’t do it. It becomes a part of a historical document.”