The Los Angeles Police Department was awarded $1 million by the U.S. Department of Justice today for the purchase of body cameras, despite a complaint by the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union that the department’s policies on the use and release of the footage hinders transparency. Before a law enforcement agency purchases cameras, a robust training policy must be laid out and established.
The award was announced Monday by U.S. Attorney Danny C. Williams Sr., and is part of more than $23 million that’s been given to dozens of local and tribal agencies in 32 states to expand the use of body-worn cameras and explore their impact.
In addition to Los Angeles and San Bernardino/Fontana, one other Southern California city received a grant, according to the Department of Justice: $250,000 for Pasadena. Two awards were given to Indiana cities Fort Wayne and West Lafayette.
“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 objective that all communities need to survive”, Lynch said.
L.A. has drawn headlines in recent months for its plan to put a body camera on every officer who works in the field.
“We’ve been ready to go”, Burguan said.
“Regrettably, the Justice Department appears more interested in creating the appearance that they are addressing the concern about policing than in ensuring departments adopt body camera programs that might making a meaningful difference to their communities”. The grants total $19.3 million for buying cameras; $2 million for training; and $1.9 million for examining their use. About 860 cameras were already purchased with private donations and are now being rolled out to some divisions. “These 700 cameras will help move us forward to our goal”.
Earlier this year, Seattle department officials engaged with police leaders from across the country as part of the White House sponsored “Police Data Initiative” to investigate how officers should store the video. Each of these three departments will partner with a research institution to gain insight on the merits of deploying body-worn camera programs.
The Seattle Police Department plans to develop camera “policies and protocols” in the coming months with various entities, including the DOJ, the Seattle Police Officers Guild and the Community Police Commission, according to a news release from the agency.