Today, US President Barack Obama proposed $US263 million in funding to law enforcement to help avoid another disaster like the ongoing mess in Ferguson, Missouri.
The proposed three-year funding package contains $US75 million for a Body Worn Cameras Partnership, which would help states purchase and store the new equipment. It’s important to note that the funding comes with the caveat of matching funds from the always tenuous coffers of the state governments.
Still, it’s an important step towards getting the body cameras that demonstrably help reduce police violence against civilians. Cost is often cited as one of the major obstacles to implementing the technology.
The Hill was the first to report the new initiative.
After a federal grand jury failed to indict officer Darren Wilson for killing unarmed teenager Michael Brown last week, Brown’s family called for a campaign to outfit all police with body cameras that record their interactions with people.
The rest of the funding will be used to provide training and resources for law enforcement on engaging with communities and reforming their practices.
In addition to the funding, President Obama will issue an executive order that will hopefully help overhaul how and when police get military weapons, which we’ve seen used against civilians in Ferguson and across the country. Much of the time the presence of this equipment only escalates situations and can lead to more civil unrest than it prevents.
In the order, which will be drafted in the coming months, the president will ask departments to list what equipment they need and why they need it. The order will also ask departments detailed accounting of federal equipment they buy and sell, as well as analysis of how it’s used when deployed.
Today’s announcement is full of language about future orders and evaluative task forces, so only the beginning of a much needed overhaul to community policing. Still, we can at least be happy that the the executive branch is taking the dissent in the streets seriously. [The White House via The Hill via The Verge]