Body Worn Video Steering Group
A Republican-controlled Congress approved a $51 billion measure providing the Justice Department and NASA with modest budget hikes, but the legislation falls well short of what’s needed to win President Barack Obama’s signature.
The measure cuts back Obama’s request for police body cameras and new community policing initiatives.
The bill establishes a $50 million fund to improve police-community relations through state grants to assess and improve their justice systems. The amount is about one-third of what Obama asked for in February. Some $15 million would go to help local police departments buy body worn video cameras that would record interactions with the public, half of Obama’s request.
Funding for community policing has assumed a higher profile following violence sparked by the recent deaths of black men at the hands of law enforcement in Baltimore, South Carolina and Ferguson, Missouri. The unrest has focused attention on police conduct and the distrust between minority communities and the officers in those areas.
“The … bill fails to adequately fund all the elements necessary to fully support law enforcement and improve relations between communities and the police,” said a White House letter sent to lawmakers on Tuesday.
The measure targets increases for exploring space and fighting cybercrime but cuts legal aid for the poor, the decennial census and weather satellites. It eliminates a grant program that helps local police departments hire new officers.
Read more by Andrew Taylor (Associated Press)
21st Century Policing Task Force cities making progress:
Los Angeles, CA
The City of Los Angeles has a long-standing commitment to the principles of community policing outlined in the 21st Century Policing Report, and is actively working on enhancing the LAPD’s efforts in this area. This year, Mayor Garcetti unveiled the creation of a new LAPD Division entirely dedicated to community outreach, community policing, and social media engagement.
The Department is also engaging in expansions of cutting-edge digital media technologies, including outfitting its officers with body worn video cameras, and several programs dedicated to deepening relationships with LA’s diverse communities while leveraging best practices in community policing, including its Gang Reduction and Youth Development and Domestic Abuse Response Team programs.
Office of Mayor Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles, CA
The President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing has worked tirelessly over several months to develop community policing recommendations in response to the troubling events that have transpired in cities around the nation. Madison will very closely consult the recommendations outlined in the Task Force’s Final Report as we strive to continue to enhance our approach to community policing.
The implementation of these excellent recommendations and proposals is just one in a series of steps that our city and others must consider to increase opportunities for every American and invest in initiatives that promote equity and social justice. Consistent with the Task Force Report, Madison is now closely examining acquisition of Body Worn Video Cameras and is also undertaking a full review of policing standards and practices.
Office of Mayor Paul Soglin, Madison, WI