Politics

Justice Dept. Disburses $23 Million for Police Cameras

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Special to the NNPA from the Afro-American Newspaper

White House efforts to foster improved policing and better ties between communities and law enforcement went a step further this week, as the Department of Justice announced its awarding of more than $23.2 million in grants for body-worn cameras.

Seventy-three local and tribal agencies across 32 states will receive the grants as part of a pilot program that builds on President Obama’s plan to purchase 50,000 body-worn cameras for law enforcement agencies within three years.

“This vital pilot program is designed to assist local jurisdictions that are interested in exploring and expanding the use of body-worn cameras in order to enhance transparency, accountability and credibility,” said U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch in a statement.  “The impact of body-worn cameras touches on a range of outcomes that build upon efforts to mend the fabric of trust, respect and common purpose that all communities need to thrive.”

The allocation includes $19.3 million to purchase body-worn cameras and $2 million for training and technical assistance. The program will also award $1.9 million to police departments in Miami, Milwaukee and Phoenix, who will partner with research institutions to examine the impact of body-worn cameras on citizen complaints, internal investigations, privacy, community relationships and cost effectiveness.

To receive the grant, agencies are expected to provide a 50/50 in-kind or cash match and establish a thorough implementation plan, including a robust training policy and long-term data storage plan before purchasing the cameras.

For additional information about the BWC Pilot Implementation Program, visit http://www.bja.gov/bwc/pdfs/BWCPIP-Award-Fact-Sheet.pdf.

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