Grants would fund closer look at body cams
WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, and Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, and Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tennessee, recently introduced the Police CAMERA (Creating Accountability by Making Effective Recording Available) Act of 2017.
This legislation would create a pilot grant program to assist state and local law enforcement develop safe and effective body-worn camera programs that also protect civilians’ privacy rights.
“We can’t restore trust between our communities and law enforcement without transparency and accountability,” Schatz said. “Body cameras alone won’t repair that relationship, but they have proven to be effective and can do a great deal to keep both police officers and community members safe and accountable.”
The Police CAMERA Act of 2017 would establish the grant program using existing funding to assist state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies with the purchasing or leasing of body-worn cameras.
“The resulting benefits of the body-worn cameras after almost two years of usage have greatly exceeded my expectations,” said Darryl Perry, Kauai police chief. “Not only have our officers embraced this technology wholeheartedly, but our community has commended KPD for being open and transparent.”
The act would also authorize an impact-study after two years. The study would assess the impact body-worn cameras have on reducing the use of excessive force by police, its effects on officer safety and public safety, and procedures to protect the privacy of individuals who are recorded.
“We would explore this grant opportunity to off-set cost and would encourage other law enforcement agencies to do likewise,” Perry said.