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Count of Fulton BWC Policy and Implementation Program

Award Information

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

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $1,630,000)

The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) and Fulton County Police Department (FCPD) are collaborating to expand a body-worn camera (BWCs) program and equip 815 sworn officers with BWCs. Both agencies work in tandem to provide law enforcement services to Fulton County; the BWC program will increase interoperability between the agencies. FCSO is the lead agency for this application.

Fulton County is the largest county in the state of Georgia, encompassing 13 municipalities, unincorporated regions of the county, and portions of the City of Atlanta. Fulton County has a population of 1,065,334, of which 45.5% are White, 44.5% Black/African American, 7.6% Asian, and 7.2% Hispanic/Latino. Fulton County is 534 square miles, financially stratified from the affluent suburbs of north metro-Atlanta to the impoverished area south of the state’s capital. Just over half (51.5%) of the population is female. The median household income in 2021 was $77,635 and 13.7% of persons were living in poverty according to the United States Census Quick Facts.

The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) presents a unique environment for the use of BWCs as a significant number of interactions are with inmates versus members of the public. Currently, the Sheriff’s Office only has 150 BWCs for 800 sworn staff. In 2022, FCSO reported 636 jail related incidents. In 2014-2015, the FCPD reported 84 “response to resistance” incidents, known as use of force encounters; in 2014 FCPD complaints increased 33% from the previous year. Since the implementation of BWCs, the numbers of complaints and response to resistance have decreased dramatically - for an average of 2.3 complaints and 6.3 response to resistance encounters per year between 2020-2022.

The BWC program will include: procurement of 815 Body Worn Cameras to include cameras, docking stations, software, and training. FCSO will engage in public outreach, Abstract County of Fulton O-BJA-2023-171562 marketing, policy creation, and officer education. Program outcomes include: 1) Reduce citizen complaints by providing transparency in interactions between law enforcement and public; 2) Decreased use of force and volatile incidents by enhancing the accountability of law enforcement personnel and the public; 3) Leverage digital multimedia evidence (DME) to support the prosecution of criminal cases; 4) Increase evidence quality and to gain back public confidence in law enforcement; 5) Provide visual and audio evidence that can independently verify events in a correctional facility; and 6) Protect law enforcement personnel against false accusations of misconduct.

Date Created: September 25, 2023