In June of this year, the South Carolina Legislature passed a law that will ultimately require police agencies throughout South Carolina to implement body-worn cameras. As this law was being shaped and debated, the US Department of Justice, through the Bureau of Justice Assistance, issued a funding solicitation for body-worn camera pilot implementation programs. The Greenville Police Department applied for this grant to help it develop a viable program to implement body-worn cameras throughout its uniformed field operational force.
Yesterday, the City learned that BJA has selected the Greenville Police Department’s proposal as one of 73 agencies funded from an applicant pool of 283 nationwide. BJA will fund $93,750 of the total program costs of $260,434. Some or most of the City’s expenses should be eligible for reimbursement from the state body-worn camera fund.
In addition to acquiring hardware, storage and software management tools, the City’s proposal also included components for policy development with structured public involvement, a public awareness campaign and program evaluation with the assistance of the Criminology and Criminal Justice Department of the University of South Carolina in Columbia (Dr. Geoffrey Alpert). “We are very excited about these components of the implementation process,” said Greenville Police Chief Ken Miller.
“We believe that the addition of body-worn cameras is an important step forward in preventing conflict in policing our community, reducing the demand and severity of necessary force, resolving conflicting perspectives in incidents, and de-escalating tension,” Miller said. “While they may not capture every event or every angle of an event, they can be infinitely more useful and valuable than in-car cameras in evaluating interactions between the police and public. They can also help improve our service delivery, and enhance confidence and trust in the fine employees of the Greenville Police Department.”