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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, September 21, 2015

Albany Police Department Funded For Body-Worn Cameras

One of 73 Agencies Nationally to Receive Federal Funding

ALBANY, NEW YORK - Attorney General Loretta Lynch today announced that the Justice Department has awarded grants totaling more than $23.2 million to 73 local and tribal agencies in 32 states to expand the use of body-worn cameras and explore their impact. The investment includes $19.3 million to purchase body-worn cameras, $2 million for training and technical assistance and $1.9 million to examine the impact of their use. The grants, awarded by the Department’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP), are part of President Obama’s proposal to purchase 50,000 body-worn cameras for law enforcement agencies within three years.

"As we support local leaders and law enforcement officers in their work to protect their communities, we are mindful that effective public safety depends not simply on taking bad guys off the streets, but on winning – and keeping – the confidence of the people these officers are sworn to serve," said Attorney General Loretta Lynch. "The awards we’re announcing today will enhance our understanding [of this technology] even further, and I am confident that they will help our many local law enforcement partners do an even better job of serving their communities."

The City of Albany Police Department’s $133,305 grant award is one of four grants received by New York State agencies. The City of Rochester, Village of Spring Valley and City of White Plains also received funding.

"It is fitting that the Albany Police Department, whose leaders and officers believe in community policing, has been chosen for this funding award," said United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian. "Advancements like this will foster transparency and thereby improve police-community relations."

"Over the past few years, the Albany Police Department has made tremendous changes to ensure that we are building trust and legitimacy within our community," said Albany Police Chief Brendan Cox. "By outfitting our officers with body-worn cameras, the Albany Police Department can continue to bridge the gap between the members of our community and of the police department through a transparent process that includes stakeholder input in the planning and implementation of a body-worn camera program. I would like to thank Attorney General Loretta Lynch for her leadership in making this funding available at a time when police accountability and community confidence in the police are the defining principles of 21st century policing."

The grants, which require a 50/50 in-kind or cash match, can be used to purchase equipment and require that applicants establish a strong implementation plan and a robust training policy before purchasing cameras. The long term costs associated with storing this information will be the financial responsibility of each local agency.

In addition to funds to help purchase body-worn cameras and train officers in their use, grants under the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s (BJA’s) Smart Policing Initiative will support police departments in Miami, Milwaukee, and Phoenix as they examine the impact of body-worn cameras on citizen complaints, internal investigations, privacy, community relationships, and cost effectiveness. Each of these three departments will partner with a research institution to gain insight on the merits of deploying body-worn camera programs.

Lynch announced the award today during a White House Champions of Change event co-hosted by the Office of Justice Programs and the Community Oriented Policing Services Office (COPS). The event honored law enforcement officers and young people who are leading efforts to improve relationships between law enforcement and youth in their communities.

BJA has launched a comprehensive online toolkit that consolidates research, promising practices, model policies and other tools that address issues surrounding body-worn cameras, including implementation requirements; image retention; concerns of policy makers, prosecutors, victim and privacy advocates; and community engagement and funding considerations. The toolkit is available at: https://www.bja.gov/bwc/.

OJP’s Bureau of Justice Statistics is collecting data on body-worn camera usage through surveys of law enforcement agencies. It is also designing data collection forms for future surveys of prosecutors and public defenders to measure how body-worn camera footage is being used by the courts in criminal cases.

For additional information about the BWC Pilot Implementation Program, visit http://www.bja.gov/bwc/pdfs/BWCPIP-Award-Fact-Sheet.pdf.

About the Office of Justice Programs (OJP)

OJP, headed by Assistant Attorney General Karol V. Mason, provides federal leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice and assist victims. OJP has six components: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking. More information about OJP can be found at www.ojp.gov

Updated September 22, 2015