The U.S. Department of Justice selected 73 agencies across the country to get help with buying equipment and growing training.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday awarded Seattle Police Department $600,000 to expand its body-camera program as part of a federal campaign to boost law-enforcement transparency.
This summer, the department concluded a small pilot project that placed body cameras on a dozen officers, and department officials hope to have cameras on all patrol officers next year.
The new grant would help officials purchase body-camera equipment and train officers once they finalize their expansion plans in the coming months, according to a Seattle police spokesman.
The DOJ selected 73 police agencies across the country to receive the federal money, which will help buy an estimated 21,000 cameras nationwide. The grants total $19.3 million for buying cameras; $2 million for training; and $1.9 million for examining their use.
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Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell, who supports the use of body cameras, said last September it would cost the city an estimated $407,000 to outfit 680 officers with cameras.
The selected agencies are required to come up with training and implementation plans, as well as long-term funding to cover the cost of storing camera data.
Earlier this year, Seattle department officials engaged with police leaders from across the country as part of the White House sponsored “Police Data Initiative” to investigate how officers should store the video.
The Seattle Police Department plans to develop camera “policies and protocols” in the coming months with various entities, including the DOJ, the Seattle Police Officers Guild and the Community Police Commission, according to a news release from the agency.
“Body-worn video technology is incredibly important to our communities and our officers,” said Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole in the release. “We are grateful for this assistance from the Department of Justice, and are excited to continue our work enhancing transparency, accountability, and community trust.”
The Associated Press and information from the Seattle Times archives contributed to this report.