Walker Supports Bill to Help Local Law Enforcement Develop Body-Worn Camera Pilot Programs
WASHINGTON, DC â€“ Today, U.S. Representative Mark Walker (NC-06) has joined as the lead Republican cosponsor in the House for the Police Creating Accountability by Making Effective Recording Available (Police CAMERA) Act of 2015, a bipartisan, bicameral bill that would use existing funding to start a pilot grant program to assist state and local law enforcement agencies with purchasing or leasing body-worn cameras (BWCs).
â€œI have the utmost respect for our law enforcement but unfortunately recent events have severely damaged public trust between our officers and the people they serve. Even today in Randolph County, we can see how body-worn cameras can assist police in preserving evidence, and a preliminary study has already shown that this use of technology reduced the number of complaints against police and incidents of excessive force,â€ said Rep. Walker. He added, â€œThe Police CAMERA Act is a tangible way to address recent incidents that have caused friction and protests around police violence.â€
The Police CAMERA Act of 2015 creates a pilot grant program through the Department of Justice to assist local and state law enforcement in purchasing body-worn cameras. Additionally, it requires an impact-study be conducted after two years, focusing on the programâ€™s effectiveness in improving law enforcement accountability while protecting privacy of individuals. The study also examines the effects on officer safety and public safety and works to develop best practices for BWCs. Last month, U.S. Representatives Corrine Brown (FL-05) and Keith Ellison (MN-05) introduced H.R. 1680 and U.S. Representative Mark Walker (NC-06) is the first Republican to cosponsor the bill in the House. Additionally, U.S. Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) introduced an identical bill in the Senate, S. 877. The Police CAMERA Act was drafted with the help of law enforcement agencies across the country. Between 2003 and 2009, the Department of Justiceâ€™s Bureau of Justice Statistics has reported nearly 3,000 homicides by law enforcement personnel in their Arrest-Related Deaths program. Full text of the Police CAMERA Act of 2015 can be found here.