President Obama Wants Body Cameras

In the wake of the Ferguson tragedy, President Obama is trying to offer some positive solutions and has made a proposal for $263 million — a pittance, I know — for a number of community policing projects. Included in that is $75 million for the purchase of body cameras for a small percentage of police officers.

In the wake of the Michael Brown shooting, President Barack Obama wants Congress to authorize $75 million over the next three years to help local police departments purchase up to 50,000 body cameras for their officers, senior administration officials said Monday.

That money would be part of a $263 million community policing initiative that Obama is proposing Monday, part of an all-day White House effort to address the concerns raised by the shooting and the subsequent protests in Ferguson, Mo., a week after a grand jury decided not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for Brown’s death.

Body cameras became a popular reform proposal after Brown’s shooting and amid the following grand jury investigation; advocates say that they would give investigators an unbiased recording of any officer-involved incident rather than relying on the testimony of the officers themselves. Wilson testified to the grand jury investigating Brown’s shooting for four hours. Obama is also meeting with Cabinet members as well as community leaders and law enforcement officials to discuss the issues that have been raised in the four months since the shooting.

Obama’s proposal would provide a 50 percent federal match for local police departments to purchase body cameras and to store them. The White House estimated that the three-year, $75 million investment could purchase as many as 50,000 body cameras.

Included in the proposal is improved training for police officers, so you know how the wingnut-o-sphere is going to spin it: Obama to send police officers to FEMA “re-education” camps to turn them into Kenyan Muslim commie terrorists and install surveillance cameras on every American so ISIS can know where they are to attack them.

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  • Modusoperandi

    Included in the proposal is improved training for police officers, so you know how the wingnut-o-sphere is going to spin it

    To be fair, they’d be fine with it if, like armored vehicles and grenade launchers, the cameras were ex-DoD. Granted, they’d shoot hellfires or something, and they’d look like the Batmobile, and who wouldn’t want that?

  • Randomfactor

    How about, as an enticement, an executive order that surplus equipment, grants and the like go ONLY to departments which have implemented a valid camera policy.

  • drewvogel

    I’m all for cameras, but we can’t stop there. The non-indictment of Daniel Pantaleo proves that.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Great idea. Why not start with the Secret Service?

    Of course those field trips to Colombia might have to be X-rated…

  • tacitus

    Heard a report about this on NPR. One problem — the cameras are controlled by the cops wearing them, and all too often, they don’t seem to be running during incidents that lead to complaints against the cops.

  • Donnie

    Business idea:

    Start an online data storage and collection service via the cloud tied to small cameras attached to your body (a fish eye type of camera?) and on your glasses (prescription or not) that is camera lens quality with options to record in HD. Thus, you are recording in two directions (where you are walking and where you are facing). Data is stored on the device and can be downloaded at home with an emergency ‘trigger’ that sends the last x minutes of data direct into the cloud and continues to send data into the cloud until you send the all clear signal. With the ‘trigger’ data is also send to a ’emergency friend(s) list’ that receive instant notification that you are recording an event with a live stream link so that you can capture and store the data and view the event in real time.

    In Ferguson, the police intentionally used scanners to block cell phone signals, so an alternative method of data syncing would need to be devised.

  • Donnie

    Business idea:

    Get health insurance companies, home security companies, life insurance companies, auto insurance companies, and any other company that provides insurance to subsidies the cameras for personal use so that those companies can use the data in efforts to reclaim monies lost due to injury caused by others that they are required to pay out.

    The goal is to have a walking population watching the police in areas that have proven to be staffed by racists, power tripping bullies.

    Some days, I wish I was an immoral asshole banker / hedge fund manager on Wall Street and made a couple of billions in order to arm the population against the current abuse by authority. But, of course, if I was a that type of person, I would not probably give to shits about those unwashed heathens – as long as they did not come near my gated community, 100,000 sq ft vacation villa or on my 400ft yacht.

    The $h!t is going to hit the fan shortly, and the gilded rich will be like the French Aristocracy, “Wha……” with dumbfound looks wondering what is happening and where are the police to help them.