See my earlier related articles. I have called for Body cams on all cops since they came out; they can eliminate/solve sooooooo many problems.
Excerpts from the Article:
Wilmington officials have received a federal grant to pay for the Police Department to wear body cameras, the city announced Thursday.
The $630,000 awarded by the U.S. Department of Justice will cover the cost of cameras for the department’s 315 officers and four additional officers that will be hired to oversee the program.
The City Council this month approved adding $400,000 to this year’s city budget to hire those officers. The council on Thursday night will vote on a $2 million contract over the next five years between the city and Axon Enterprises Inc. for the equipment, maintenance and video storage.
“We would have started this program with or without a federal grant because it’s that important,” Mayor Mike Purzycki said in a news release. “But it sure is good at a time of COVID-related dwindling revenue to receive this critical support.” It will still likely be months before police actually start wearing the cameras, but the grant and this month’s budget amendment are the most concrete steps so far toward the program starting.
A copy of the grant application obtained by Delaware Online/The News Journal last month outlines some of the department’s goals for a body camera program. They include reducing misconduct complaints by 25% by the end of the first year of the program and cutting complaints in half by the end of the second year.
The department also aims to reduce civilian complaints, of which Wilmington police received about 300 between 2015 and 2019, by 30% by the end of the first year.
Police also intend to use body camera footage as evidence in both internal complaints and criminal trials and noted in their application they believe footage would clear officers accused of wrongdoing, as well as reduce lawsuits and protests.
An anti-police protest resulted in two people being arrested after an altercation with police, apparently sparked when an officer tried to take a bullhorn that a protester was using in close proximity to a line of police Saturday at Market and Fourth Streets in Wilmington. The department next will purchase the cameras, finalize policies governing their use with the police union and train officers.
Adopting body cameras for police in Delaware’s largest city has been subject to years of delays. A pilot program of the cameras – which ran for most of 2016 and early 2017 on 22 officers who volunteered – ended around the time Robert Tracy became police chief.
He told the City Council in early 2019 that he was concerned with how costly the program would be. The city applied for a federal grant to pay for cameras but failed to get approved last fall. Wilmington police applied again this year with the help of the state’s Criminal Justice Council. After protests against police brutality erupted this summer, Purzycki promised the city would pay for body cameras if the grant was not awarded.