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Purchase of 40 new body-worn cameras for the Jonesboro Police Dept.

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $80,000)

The City of Jonesboro, Arkansas (pop. 81,969) is the cultural and economic hub of northeast Arkansas.
As such, it is also a hub for criminal activity. It needs a modern police force and believes that any
employee whose job entails the possibility of civilian confrontations should wear a body camera on
duty. This includes all officers who carry guns and Tasers.
For this reason, the city requests an $80,000 grant to buy 40 new BWCs for the Jonesboro Police
Department (JPD). This will enable JPD to equip every employee with a device that is becoming de
rigueur in modern police departments. The safety of our citizens and police department depends on it.
The JPD launched its BWC program five years ago with 200 cameras. Last year, the city was awarded
another grant to help buy nine more BWC. The cameras have provided video recordings that aided
prosecutors, expedited court cases, and addressed citizen complaints, legitimate or otherwise. JPD now
wants to move to full implementation. That requires 40 new cameras, enough to cover all reserve and
administrative officers, plus 4 public-facing employees of other divisional units in the department.
BWC expansion project activities include video documentation of all calls for service, encounters with
citizens, collection of evidence, and training new users. Expected outcomes include, above all, faster
and fairer processing of criminal cases through the court system. Also, additional body cameras will
promote additional transparency and accountability. More cameras mean more protection against false
allegations. Mendacious complaints against police can be swiftly refuted. Legitimate complaints can
be confirmed. Video evidence is virtually indisputable. All Jonesboro residents will benefit from
equipping the police with more BWC. Accuracy and transparency are the foundations of an equitable
judicial system. Every citizen fears false arrest, and every police officer fears false accusations. Both
sides profit from putting the truth where it can be seen by all. The camera lens is an unbiased eye.

Date Created: September 25, 2023