U.S. Attorney William Hochul Jr. has announced the Rochester Police Department will receive $600,000 to expand the use of police, body-worn cameras, as one of 73 agencies in 32 states to share $23 million in grants from the Department of Justice.
The grants, awarded by the Department’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP), are part of President Barack Obama’s proposal to purchase 50,000 body-worn cameras for law enforcement agencies within three years, and will require a 50/50 in-kind or cash match, by agencies who receive the grants.
Rochester’s city budget has allocated $2 million to the RPD for purchasing the body cameras.
“Because body worn cameras have the potential to memorialize helpful information for both law enforcement and the public, we applaud this grant for the city of Rochester,” Hochul stated.
According to Hochul’s office, the money can be used to purchase equipment, and will require that applicants establish a strong implementation plan, and a robust training policy, before purchasing the cameras. However, the long-term costs associated with storing the cameras’ video will be the financial responsibility of each local agency.
OJP’s total investment will be $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, officials stated.
“As we support local leaders and law enforcement officers in their work to protect their communities, we are mindful that effective public safety depends not simply on taking bad guys off the streets, but on winning – and keeping – the confidence of the people these officers are sworn to serve,” U.S Attorney General Loretta Lynch stated. “The awards we’re announcing today will enhance our understanding [of this technology] even further, and I am confident that they will help our many local law enforcement partners do an even better job of serving their communities.”
Miami, Milwaukee, and Phoenix will also receive grants under the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s (BJA’s) Smart Policing Initiative, Lynch said, to examine the impact of body-worn cameras on citizen complaints, internal investigations, privacy, community relationships, and cost effectiveness.