St. Pete officers to start wearing 'always-on' body cameras

St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway demonstrated Tuesday the new body-worn cameras he and four other officers will be testing over the next several weeks. 

The cameras, he hopes, will help promote trust and transparency in policing.

“We build trust in the community, but this is just another layer that says you know what we're responsible for our actions and this is how we're going to make sure there's accountability,” Chief Holloway said.

The always-on cameras are set to record automatically when an officer draws his or her firearm. Playback will include the 60 seconds before being triggered. 

There’s also an “officer down mode.”

“If an officer's body goes into a certain position, after 30 seconds it will alert all officers in the area, 25 mile radius. It will get you within 5 feet of where I am,” he said.

But cost is still a major hurdle. Outfitting around 400 officers with cameras could run in the millions of dollars.

Meanwhile, outside of police headquarters, peaceful protesters spent a fourth day calling for reforms and an end to alleged police brutality.

“I want everyone to know that black lives really do matter,” protester Ayanna Blake-Harris said.

She said body cameras are a step in the right direction. 

“If there were body cameras I’d feel a lot safer,” she said.

Others were less optimistic.

“I feel like it’s long overdue, and I feel like just because we're going to be able to see it doesn’t mean it’s going to stop it from happening,” said protester Tiffany Taylor.

The cameras will be on the streets by the end of this week. The testing will take several weeks after that.