The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) has announced that the application period for the Body-Worn Camera Policy and Implementation Program is now open. Last year, over $20 million was provided to 106 tribal and municipal law enforcement agencies for body camera programs. This year, an estimated $17 million dollars is available.
The Body-Worn Camera Policy and Implementation Program
The intent behind this DOJ grant is to aid law enforcement agencies in establishing and evaluating body worn camera programs as one potential way to build public trust. Programs should address all aspects of purchasing and maintaining the cameras. Further goals include:
- To achieve broad stakeholder support and use the input gained from community partnerships to address policy, training, deployment, and procurement requirements.
- To implement privacy policies that address issues regarding civil rights, domestic violence, juveniles, victims' groups, and legal liabilities of release of information.
- To insure operational procedures address the use, review, access, storage, retention, redaction, and expungement of digital voice and audio evidence.
- To train all appropriate personnel in the proper procedures.
Applying for the Program
Eligible applicants are Native American tribes, state and local governments, and any departments or agencies within state and local governments that perform criminal justice functions. There are different levels of awards according to agency size. Apply by February 16, 2017. There will be an optional webinar for applicants Tuesday, January 17, 2017 at 12:30 pm EST. The webinar is open to all applicants, but will especially address small agencies with 25 or fewer officers.
THE BJA Body-Worn Camera Toolkit
The BJA has revamped its National Body-Worn Camera Toolkit. This online kit is a comprehensive clearinghouse of resources to help law enforcement agencies utilize emerging best practices regarding body cameras. The website contains reports, videos, and podcasts on relevant issues including the proper use of cameras, studies on their effectiveness, and limitations. The site is also designed for community stakeholders such as civic leaders, privacy advocates, legislators, the media, and the general public.