Picture: President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. meet with Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey and Laurie Robinson, professor of criminology, law and society at George Mason University, who will be co-chairing a Presidential task force on how communities and law enforcement can work together to build trust to strengthen neighbourhoods across the country.
US President Barack Obama has announced a plan to strengthen community policing in America that involves a $75m investment in body worn video cameras for police officers.
The funds would be provided to local police services on a 50/50 match funding basis and it’s estimated that the investment would be enough to buy 50,000 cameras.
There are an estimated 780,000 police officers in the US so this round of investment in cameras would work out to around one camera for every 15 officers.
In a press statement, the White House pointed to a recent report by the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) and the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) which claims that body worn cameras help strengthen accountability and transparency, and that officers and civilians both act in a more positive manner when they’re aware that a camera is present.
The Body Worn Camera Partnership Program is part of a three-part plan to strengthen community policing which also includes:
- Creating a Task Force on 21st Century Policing, chaired by Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey, who also serves as President of the Major Cities Chiefs Police Association, and Laurie Robinson, professor at George Mason University and former Assistant Attorney General for DOJ’s Office of Justice Programs.
- Reforming how the US federal government equips local law enforcement.