The Department of Justice announced on Monday that it has awarded body-worn camera grants totaling more than $23 million to 73 local and tribe agencies across 32 states. The amount includes $19.3 million to purchase body-worn cameras, $2 million for training and technical assistance and $1.9 million to examine the impact of their use, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in the announcement.
The grants aim to support President Barack Obama’s desire to build trust and transparency between the police and the people, the announcement said. The awarding of grants hopefully is the first step towards attaining the president’s proposal to purchase 50,000 body-worn cameras for law enforcement agencies in a span of 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,” Atty. Lynch said 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,” she explained further.
The grants were awarded to applicants that can shell out a 50/50 in-kind or cash match and were able to establish a strong implementation plan and strong training policy before purchasing the body-worn cameras. The applicants were also required to develop a plan for long-term storage, including storing of data.
According to the Body-worn Camera Pilot Program Fact Sheet, 73 applicants were awarded out of the 285 who submitted applications. These applicants requested over $56 million in federal funds and requested for the purchase of over 55,000 cameras, but only 21,000 were awarded.
Among those who were not awarded grant is the city of Cincinnati. However, City Manager Harry Black announced that its local government will still purchase body-worn cameras.
“While the result of the Department of Justice BWC (body-worn camera) Pilot Implementation Program Grant process is disappointing, it will not impede BWC implementation,” Black was quoted as saying by the Cincinnati.com.