As a preventative measure for further scandals involving police brutality, a body-camera pilot program for US police is set to take place. It is possible that the program will be announced on Monday by President Obama.
The pilot-project implied the purchase of 50,000 body cameras that police officers from several cities will have to wear while on duty. The cost was of $20 million for the equipment necessary for the dozen cities that are involved in the first part of the project. If this proves to be a successful measure, then the project will be extended to more cities, making its costs reach as much as $75 million.
This program came as a means of calming the spirits after protests have sprung in Baltimore and all round the country, following the death of 25-year-old Freddie Grey caused by an extensive spinal injury that he sustained while under police custody.
Naturally, Baltimore will be one of the dozen cities that are set to take part in the pilot program, announces the Mayor of Baltimore, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. It is US officials’ hope that, with the use of body cameras, situations like the one involving the late Freddie Grey can be avoided in the future.
Part of the reason why violent protests were held in Baltimore is the tardy nature of the measures that were taken by authorities in the case, and therefore, it is believed that body cameras will help clarify similar situations more hastily in the future.
After being accused of not being sufficiently involved in rectifying the Baltimore situation, President Obama will rely on the body camera pilot program to save face in the matter.
But this will not come at a small price, since police departments are still struggling to reach funding levels close to those that they had before the recession. Naturally, they are not happy to be spending so much money on body cameras.
Furthermore, the use of the cameras will require training and maintenance, that will mean even more money spent. And aside from that, the American Civil Liberties Union have issued a warning that the use of body cameras must be conducted under strict laws that are capable of protecting the privacy of those being recorded.
Federal funding will be allocated to police departments that already had body cameras policies at hand, and they will match local funds for buying the cameras and for training the police officers how to operate them. It will however not match the funds necessary for the storage space that will be required for the footage obtained from the body cameras.
Based on the results of the body-camera pilot program for US police from twelve cities, the utility of these devices will be assessed and then it will be decided whether or not it is a plan worth generalizing to the entire US.
Image Source: blog.quantum.com
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