Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $550,000)
We will provide body worn camera's to as many municipal police departments in Allegheny County Pa. This effort would provide transparency to the public, increase confidence and trust with the citizens. Body worn cameras have proven to reduce citizens complaints.
The Allegheny Police Chief’s Inc. is requesting funds in the amount of (555.000.00) to purchase Body Worn Cameras and related equipment for Police Departments within Allegheny County. Allegheny County has 130 municipalities, of which 109 have their own police department, 4 share the Northern Region joint police department, 15 contract their police services out to a nearby municipality, and 2 municipalities contract out to the Pennsylvania State Police.
In the wake of numerous high-profile events locally and across the United States, Law Enforcement agencies across the country are rapidly moving toward adopting Body Worn Cameras for their Officers. There has been increasing public support and demands for Body Worn Cameras to be worn by every Law Enforcement Officer in the United States. In recent years, Allegheny County District Attorney, Stephen Zappala has publicly shown support for Body Worn Cameras and he has even provided some limited funding. In partnership with the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office, the Allegheny Police Chief’s Inc. has developed a model Body Worn Camera Policy. This policy was adopted by the association in September 2020. Many Police Departments across Allegheny County, Pennsylvania is eager to participate in the program, but because of the cost are financially unable to participate. The Community Project funding will bridge the gap in this funding and provide a much-needed piece of equipment to these struggling communities.
Body Worn Cameras have been shown to improve the service expected by the public from professional police officers. Law Enforcement agencies are experiencing noticeable drops in complaints against officers. Some are even reporting a 60 percent reduction in officer use of force incidents following Body Worn Camera deployment. Body Worn Camera video recordings of critical incidents and encounters allow the community to see what really happened and it established the basic facts as an unbiased observer. This video documentation can be for use in training, establishing accountability, providing objectivity and enhancing officer safety.
In Conclusion, the Community Funding Project will help fulfill the vision of the Allegheny Police Chief’s Inc. by showing that the actions of our officers are a matter of public record. Officers wearing Body Worn Cameras help promote transparency and perceived legitimacy within the community they serve, but accountability is not automatic. This is just the first step toward strengthening police transparency, performance, and accountability in all our communities, especially those in the minority communities.