Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) released the following statement in response to the Obama Administration announcement that it would provide $20 million in grants to local police departments for the purchase of body cameras for officers. Departments awarded the funding will be part of a pilot program which will evaluate the impacts of body cameras.
“The announcement today by the Administration is an important step forward,” said Senator Schatz. “I hope the Department will use the grant program to encourage police departments to put in place responsible policies to ensure that cameras increase accountability and protect the privacy rights of citizens. I support the Administration’s efforts and will continue to push for legislation to rebuild the trust between communities and the police and to reform our broken criminal justice system.”
Last month, Senator Schatz introduced legislation that would create a police body camera pilot program, which would be similar to the program announced today by the Justice Department. Senator Schatz’s Police Creating Accountability by Making Effective Recording Available (Police CAMERA) Act of 2015 would provide grants to assist state and local law enforcement agencies as they develop safe and effective body-worn camera programs that also protect citizens’ privacy rights.