NORTHAMPTON, Mass (WWLP/AP) – President Obama wants to ensure the nation’s police departments don’t become a militarized culture, and asked Congress to fund body cameras for police.
State police and many local police departments are not equipped with dash or body cameras because of the cost, but Congress is considering it after the police shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
President Obama’s proposing a three-year $263 million spending package to increase the use of police body-cameras, and expanded law enforcement training.
“I think it could be seen as a safeguard. Not a foolproof one, but it’s definitely I guess a step in the right direction,” Alan Simon, of Stratford, Connecticut said.
The President is asking that $75 million go toward 50,000 cameras that can be worn on a police officer’s lapel.
Most people 22News spoke with today said it doesn’t just ensure accountability and transparency for police officers with dash or body cameras. It also provides recorded proof if anything goes to court.
Gina Lisella, of Holyoke said, “I think people would feel more comfortable interacting knowing that people don’t always know their rights and its sort of a safeguard for them.”
Northampton police have dash-cams in their police cruisers. Captain Jody Kasper said each camera costs 5000 dollars, and they’ve proved successful for evidence in court over the last 15 years.
“I don’t see any drawback to having them. I think that there’s the potential to really increase public safety and I don’t know whats more important than that so I think it’s a good use of our funds,” Diane Domina, of Easthampton said.
A Justice Department report said there is evidence that both police and civilians behave better when they know they are being recorded.