Following President Obama’s announcement of a police body camera program in May, the Justice Department has awarded $23.2 million to police departments across the country. Of that money, $19.3 million will go toward purchasing cameras, $2 million will go to training and tech assistance, and $1.9 million to study the cameras’ impact.
The department says the money will be dispersed across 73 agencies in 32 states, part of a move to have 50,000 body cameras on officers across the country within three years. Agencies that receive grants, according to the department, must match the funds themselves and “establish a strong implementation plan and a robust training policy before purchasing cameras.” Any agency awarded a grant is also responsible for creating a long-term data-storage plan.
But even as the Obama administration program ramps up, the effectiveness of police body cameras is still contested. The Justice Department says the Miami, Milwaukee, and Phoenix police departments will partner with research institutions to determine how the cameras affect policing.