12.01.14

Rep. Schiff Heralds President Obama Decision to Fund Body Cameras

Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), a former federal prosecutor who recently urged the Department of Justice to help fund local police departments’ purchase of small body-worn cameras in order to increase transparency, decrease tensions between police and community members, and create a record of events, released the following statement after President Obama announced the Administration would provide $75 million in funding for this program:

"The President’s announcement that he will seek $75 million in new funding to expand the use of body worn cameras for police officers is a welcome and important step towards making the use of body cameras standard practice in police departments across the country, and I'm looking forward to working to accomplish our shared goal of fully funding this initiative. The broader use of body cameras is a commonsense step which would help build trust and accountability where police-community relations are frayed, and potentially avert deadly confrontations like the one in which Michael Brown lost his life. We know that body cameras for police officers work, and it’s time to make them a reality.”

Background:

Schiff, along with other Members of Congress, recently sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder urging the Department of Justice to help fund local police departments’ purchase of small body-worn cameras.

From the letter: “Police departments around the country have begun adopting small body-worn cameras for police officers on patrol. These cameras provide a visual and audio record of interactions with the public, so that in the event of a confrontation or police-involved shooting, such as the one that occurred in Ferguson, there is an inalterable record of the events. There are also indications that the presence of body cameras has a civilizing effect on both police officers and the public, resulting in lower incidences of excessive force complaints and deescalating tense situations before they become violent.  

"Perhaps most importantly, cameras can instill greater trust in police departments on the part of the public they are sworn to protect. In communities with frayed police-community relations, cameras demonstrate a commitment on the part of the local police department to transparency and accountability, while protecting officers from false or frivolous complaints. For all these reasons, the adoption of body cameras has been well received in the jurisdictions that have begun to use them, both by the public and the officers wearing the cameras.”