Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $100,000)
Body-worn cameras (BWCs) are an increasingly common tool for police oversight, accountability, and transparency, yet there remains uncertainty about their impacts on policing outcomes. The Richmond Police Department (RPD) is seeking grant funding to expand RPD’s Body-Worn Camera (BWC) Program. The BWC Program Expansion includes the purchase of body-worn cameras and docking stations to upload, view and archive videos. The RPD has deployed approximately 400 BWCs and created over 1,308,840 BWC videos since February 2, 2016. While this number of videos may seem significant, there are more than 300 officers who are not assigned BWCs and there are no BWCs available for upcoming recruitment classes. In the event of repair and/or the need to retain the camera as evidence, we are not equipped to provide replacement BWCs to our officers. We are under-equipped with BWCs, especially in light of recent ongoing civil unrest that necessitated additional BWCs be made available for those officers not currently assigned cameras. Additional BWC docking stations will be required for any additional BWCs acquired, particularly at our police headquarters and at each of our four precincts. Docking stations are critical to the BWC program as these stations are how video is uploaded to cloud-based video storage, thus removing the video from the camera to make space for the next shift, as well as charging the BWCs and updating any software. Beyond the need for additional BWCs and docks, the greatest expense associated with the BWC program is storage. RPD currently utilizes Evidence.com, the cloud-based storage offered by our current vendor, Axon. Additional BWCs needed to outfit the remaining officers who lack BWCs will also increase archive costs due to the increase in videos created.
Our needs outweigh our partners’ needs due to the unique nature of our city. With the assistance of the BJA TTA, Citizens Review Board, and CALEA accreditation, we are certain the BWC Committee will be in the best possible position to train, educate, and provide awareness of policy and procedures. Using grant funding, the department wishes to move toward full implementation by adding additional BWCs, docking stations, and storage capacity that would not only equip our officers but also the next recruiting classes, detectives, and police tactical units. Additional BWCs will be integrated within the current operational framework to enhance the officers' ability to perform their duties, and promote organizational efficiency and accountability.