On the day that Baltimore state’s attorney Marilyn Mosby charged six police officers in the death of Freddie Gray, the Obama administration has announced it’s kicking its police body camera initiative into full gear.
The first step is to spend $20 million on the body cameras, according to the Justice Department.
According to The Hill, “$17 million would reportedly come in the form of grants for departments to purchase the cameras, while $2 million will go towards training and technical assistance and another $1 million for evaluating the effectiveness of the program.”
Also, a third of the funding will be spent on “small” police departments.
“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,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch said 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.”
This is the beginning of an initiative announced by the administration in December of 2014. Obama’s “Strengthen Community Policing” plan has three main goals: Advancing the use of body worn cameras and promoting proven community policing initiatives; creating a new task force to promote expansion of the community-oriented policing model, which encourages strong relationships between law enforcement and the communities that they serve as a proven method of fighting crime; and reforming how the federal government equips state and local law enforcement – particularly with military-style equipment.
The entire plan will be rolled out over three years and cost an estimated $263 million. The specific Body Worn Camera Partnership Program will cost $75 million and the White House hopes to provide 50,000 body cameras to departments across the country.
Earlier this week presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton said that body cameras should be worn by all police.