DOJ put dollars behind administration

DOJ put dollars behind White House push for body cameras

The Department of Justice is giving more than $23 million to 73 local and tribal law enforcement agencies in 32 states to encourage the use of body cameras and track their impact.

According to a Sept. 21 DOJ announcement, $19.3 million will go toward the purchase of the cameras, $2 million will fund training and technical assistance, and $1.9 million will be used to examine the impact of body-worn camera systems.

The grants require a 50/50 match by departments, which must also establish clear implementation and training plans before purchasing cameras. The grants also require agencies to develop plans for long-term storage of the captured video, including the cost of storing data.

Justice Department officials also called attention to an online toolkit created by the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Smart Policing Initiative.  The toolkit provides answers to FAQs, consolidates existing research and model polices for body camera systems and features videos and other published materials.

Police departments in Miami, Milwaukee and Phoenix, meanwhile, will get assistance in their efforts to study the impact body cameras have on citizen complaints, internal investigations and community relationships.

Interest in body camera systems has surged over the past year, in part due to several instances where police officers have been accused of excessive force that resulted in deaths or severe injuries.  And while policy and privacy questions have slowed some departments' adoption efforts, so to have the system costs, storage requirements and records-management challenges that come with the cameras.

Editor's note: This story was changed Sept. 24 to clarify the allegations of police use of force.

About the Author

Derek Major is a former reporter for GCN.

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