WASHINGTON (CN) – The U.S. Department of Justice announced the creation of a $20 million program Thursday to put body cameras on police officers.
The Body-Worn Camera Pilot Partnership Program is designed to help law enforcement agencies develop, implement and evaluate body-worn camera programs across the United States. It is part of President Barack Obama’s proposal to invest $75 million over three years to buy 50,000 body-worn cameras for police.
“This body-worn camera pilot program is a vital part of the Justice Department’s comprehensive efforts to equip law enforcement agencies throughout the country with the tools, support, and training they need to tackle the 21st century challenges we face,” said Attorney General Loretta Lynch in a statement. “Body-worn cameras hold tremendous promise for enhancing transparency, promoting accountability, and advancing public safety for law enforcement officers and the communities they serve.”
The Justice Department expects to provide 50 awards totaling $17 million to law enforcement agencies, with one-third of the grants directed toward smaller law enforcement agencies. The grants can be used to purchase equipment, but applicants must show a strong implementation and training plan for the cameras. The grants require a 50/50 in kind or cash match and the long term costs associated with storing this information will be the financial responsibility of each local agency.
Another $2 million will fund a national BWC Training and Technical Assistance provider to support law enforcement agencies in the implementation of their programs. The Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs will receive $1 million of the funds to collect data on body camera usage.
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