State awards $4M in grants for police body camera programs

A police body camera similar to those worn by Boston Police. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
A police body camera. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

More than $4 million in state grants have been awarded to 64 municipalities across Massachusetts to help local police departments start or expand the use of body cameras.

These grants are the first in a five-year, $20 million capital grant program which is expected to deploy about 9,000 body-worn cameras across the state's cities and towns.

The availability of the funds was first announced in June. The grant program is managed though the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security.

Under the grant application process, each municipal department must submit a proposal that describes how they plan to deploy the technology, as well as ways that body cameras will enhance their agency’s mission.

Body cameras can improve public safety, strengthen community-police relations, and enhance the values of transparency and accountability, Gov. Charlie Baker said Thursday in a written statement.

About 10% of municipal police departments in Massachusetts currently operate a body-worn camera program.

A survey by the Massachusetts Chief of Police Association indicated that about 75% of departments in cities and smaller communities are interested in starting a program, according to the administration.



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