At a meeting on Monday at the White House where President Obama met with officials and civil rights leaders to discuss how to improve the relationship between law enforcement and the communities (of color) that they serve, the Obama Administration proposed to invest $75 million for 50,000 body cameras to be worn by police, along with the implementation of a new task force.
The funding is part of a three-year $263 “community policing initiative” investment package that the president will use to improve law enforcement training, police department reform, and support programs aimed at cultivating better relationships between police and the communities they serve.
However, the Obama Administration isn’t planning to foot the whole bill. The funding for the cameras will match that provided by the states by 50%. Police departments will be responsible for putting up half the cash before the Obama Administration writes a check toward the balance for the equipment.
The announcement of body cameras is the response to the unrest felt in Ferguson, Missouri as seen with protesters’ expressed disdain at Officer Darren Wilson getting off scott-free for fatally shooting unarmed teen, Michael Brown.
In addition to the funding, Obama plans to make changes with the way that military equipment is provided to local police departments by the federal government. After a careful review, these programs indicated “a lack of consistency in how federal programs are structured, implemented and audited,” according to the White House.
Obama will also create a task force made up of civil rights organizations and law enforcement officials led by Philadelphia Police Commissioner, Charles H. Ramsey, and former Assistant Attorney General, Laurie Robinson. The aim of the task force is to promote effective crime reduction while building public trust.