Army's combat camera not new - JDF

July 14, 2017
Major Basil Jarrett

The Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) recent showcasing of their combat camera, via their official Twitter account, has been mistaken by some members of the public as body cameras, especially since the military's presence has been beefed up across Jamaica.

However, Major Basil Jarrett, civil military co-operation and media affairs officer, while admitting that the public has been seeing greater numbers of soldiers in terms of deployment, said the combat camera is not to be confused with the body camera requirement of the Zones of Special Operations Bill.

Jarrett said: "Combat camera is something we always had. Essentially, we have soldiers who we send in an operation area and their job really is to collect footage and to chronicle activities in the operation. That footage may have any number of uses. It can be used for intelligence purposes, it can be used to verify activities, it can be used to highlight activities of the force."

On its Twitter account, a snippet of the use of the body camera was captured during an operation in Denham Town, west Kingston, on July 6 at 2330 hours.

As for the increase in deployment, Jarrett said: "We have soldiers deployed right across the island right now from May Pen, Westmoreland, Hanover, and St Catherine. All the hotspots across the island, we have soldiers deployed in support of the police."

Meanwhile, media professionals could soon be going into the hotspots for news gathering.

THE WEEKEND STAR understands that the soldiers are trying to get approval for the media to be part of the zone of special operations and Jarrett is seeking to advance the cause.

He told our news team: "We are trying to advance the idea that the media should be able to come into a zone of operation to get their own independent footage under our guidance and protection".

"In other words, if a practitioner wants to come on an operation on a particular evening, there is no reason why I couldn't put you in a helmet and a vest and bring you in with the appropriate levels of supervision," he explained.

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