Police CAMERA Act Would Create A Grant Program To Help Local Law Enforcement Agencies Develop Body-Worn Camera Programs
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), U.S. Representatives Corrine Brown (FL-05) and Keith Ellison (MN-05) introduced the Police Creating Accountability by Making Effective Recording Available (Police CAMERA) Act of 2015. This bipartisan legislation would create a pilot grant program to assist state and local law enforcement agencies with purchasing or leasing body-worn cameras.
“Body cameras will benefit the brave men and women who serve in our police force and the people they protect,” said Sen. Paul. “The use of body cameras helps officers collect and preserve evidence to solve crimes, while also decreasing the number of complaints against police. The Police CAMERA Act will help state and local police departments access this new tool, while ensuring that the privacy rights of every civilian is respected.”
“The relationship between our communities and the men and women who protect them is based on trust and accountability,” said Sen. Schatz. “In communities like Ferguson, we have seen that public trust eroded by reports of racism and use of excessive force by police. Body-worn police cameras are already being used by some police departments and have shown to be effective in keeping our communities safe. Our legislation would help expand the responsible use of body-worn police cameras and help make sure our police officers and law enforcement agencies are more accountable to the communities they serve.”
“At a time when the trust between law enforcement and those they were sworn to protect has reached a critical point, the CAMERA Act gives us an opportunity to explore and learn best practices for the use of body worn cameras,” said Rep. Brown. “Representing Florida, a place that has had its share of issues with transparency and police accountability, the CAMERA Act is a positive bi-partisan measure which strengthens trust between law enforcement and the communities they are sworn to protect and serve.”
“After the tragic deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Robert Saylor and Tamir Rice, a stronger bond must be forged between our communities and police forces,” said Rep. Ellison. “The pilot program created by the Police CAMERA Act empowers law enforcement officials who want to do better for the people they protect and serve. Body cameras alone won’t stop the next tragedy, but we should take every common-sense step we can to increase accountability and protect both civilians and police officers.”
Police departments that have piloted the use of body-worn cameras have seen a drop in incidents of use of excessive force and complaints against police. The Police CAMERA Act of 2015 would:
· Establish a pilot grant program using existing funding to assist state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies with the purchasing or leasing of body-worn cameras.
· 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.
Supporters of the Police CAMERA Act of 2015 include: the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and local police departments across the country.
Click HERE to read the Police CAMERA Act of 2015 in its entirety.