Today, the Baker-Polito Administration announced a competitive grant program to equip municipal police departments across the Commonwealth with body-worn cameras. The Office of Grants and Research within the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security will manage the 5-year $20 million program, which is expected to fund 9,000 cameras as well as on-premises servers for secure video storage for municipal police departments. The Baker-Polito Administration included funding for this program as part of the FY22 Capital Budget Plan.
“Body-worn cameras create opportunities to strengthen relationships between local law enforcement and the communities they serve, said Governor Charlie Baker. “We look forward to partnering with cities and towns to provide these important resources that will improve transparency and accountability.”
“Through this grant program, our Administration will work with our partners in local government to strengthen public safety and improve accountability for local law enforcement,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “This technology will help improve relationships between community members and public safety officials.”
“Body worn cameras provide municipal police departments of every size with a transformative tool to advance public safety, said Public Safety and Security Secretary Thomas Turco. “Beyond evidence collection and accountability, law enforcement leaders can develop new training exercises and best practices guided by the insights the footage provides.”
Municipal departments can apply for funds to begin a new body-worn camera program or expand an existing program. While only 10% of Massachusetts municipal departments operate a program, a recent poll by the Massachusetts Chief of Police Association indicates that more than 3 of 4 department in both major cities and smaller communities are interested in starting a program.
As part of their grant application, each department will be required to submit a comprehensive deployment plan that must describe a deliberate and phased plan to deploy the technology, as well as specific ways the proposed program will enhance the agency’s mission.
“With so much interest among police departments to adopt and implement this technology, we look forward to supporting municipalities through this unique funding opportunity,” said Office of Grants and Research Executive Director Kevin Stanton. “Our OGR team recognizes the needs of Massachusetts departments and remain committed to make impactful grant awards that reach communities of every size in the Commonwealth.”
“Both our police departments and the communities in which they work will ultimately be better served by improved access of body-worn cameras,” said Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security, Senator Walter F. Timilty. “Access to this modern technology enhancement to police operations will contribute to strengthening accountability, trust, and transparency.”
“Body cameras are a useful tool that keep both police officers and members of the public safe,” said Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security, Rep. Carlos Gonzáles. “Research has found that police-worn body cameras reduce department costs, promote best practices, and improve police-community relations. Grants such as these that expand their use serve to improve policing across the Commonwealth and carry out the mission of the police reform law we passed.”
The applications became available to municipal departments on June 30 and will remain open until Monday, August 30, 2021. For more information, you can visit: https://www.mass.gov/service-details/justice-and-prevention-grants