Congressmember Janice Hahn (CA-44), whose district includes parts of Long Beach, introduced legislation Friday with Congressman Bill Foster (IL-11) to provide $100 million annually in federal grant funding to outfit law enforcement officers with body cameras.
Called the “Safer Officers and Safer Citizens Act of 2015,” the bill is a House version of a Senate Bill, which was introduced by senators Cory Booker and Tim Scott, according to a release issued by Hahn’s office.
“At a time of tension and eroding trust between law enforcement and the public in many communities, body cameras help hold police officers accountable and encourage them to act appropriately as they protect and serve,” said Hahn in a statement. “This legislation enables departments to purchase body cameras without cutting or diverting funds from other important programs including community outreach efforts.”
The legislation stipulates that grant recipients will specifically be required to match 25 percent of the grant funds, and preferential treatment will be given to departments who adhere to the following policies:
- A comprehensive policy developed in consultation with criminal justice experts and community members
- Contains policies and procedures addressing deployment, video capture, viewing, use, release, storage, retention, audits and controls
- Are supported by a comprehensive communication and education campaign
- Are informed by the best practices on body-worn cameras developed by the Department of Justice
- Commit to submitting data for the purposes of studying the effectiveness of the use of body-worn cameras
“This is a common sense solution to bring more accountability and transparency to our criminal justice system. Studies have shown that the use of body cameras not only provides a more accurate record of events, but also leads to less use of force,” said Foster in a statement. “As many have said, justice delayed is justice denied. Arming our police force with body cameras will go a long way to ensure justice is served swiftly, both for citizens and the officers assigned to protect us.”
Above, left: photo courtesy of Rep. Janice Hahn's Facebook page.