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Body-Worn Camera Program

Award Information

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

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $358,886)

The Body Worn Camera Policy and Implementation program (BWC PIP) provides funding to limited public agencies (i.e., states, units of local government, (including tribal government, recognized by the Secretary of the Interior), combinations of such states or units, or any department, agency, or instrumentality of the foregoing), that perform criminal justice functions; and national and regional public and private entities, including for-profit (commercial) and nonprofit organizations (including tribal nonprofit or for-profit organizations), faith-based and community organizations, and institutions of higher education (including tribal institutions of higher education) that support initiatives to improve the functioning of the criminal justice system. For-profit organizations must agree to forgo any profit or management fee.

The BWC PIP, funded under the 2016 Department of Justice Appropriations Act (P.L. 114-113), will support the implementation of body-worn camera programs in law enforcement agencies across the country. The intent of the program is help agencies develop, implement, and evaluate a BWC program as one tool in a law enforcement agency’s comprehensive problem solving approach to enhance officer interactions with the public and build community trust. Elements of such an approach include; Implementation of a BWC program developed in a planned and phased approach; Collaboration that leverages partnerships with cross-agency criminal justice stakeholders including prosecutors and advocacy organizations; Implementation of appropriate privacy policies; Implementation of operational procedures and tracking mechanisms; Training of officers, administrators, and associated agencies requiring access to digital multimedia evidence (DME); Adoption of practices and deployment of BWC programs appropriately addressing operational requirements.

The Houston Police Department is seeking funding to help expedite the purchases of body cameras for the front line officers. The Houston Police Department has seen a decline in the number of sworn officers while at the same time witnessing increases in population and crime. The increase in population and a decrease in sworn officers have helped facilitate an increase in murders, sexual assaults, and robberies since 2010. Other non-violent crimes have increased as well, but the violent crime increases are of particular concern. Officers conducting street investigations are constantly witnessing varying degrees of crime. These evidentiary encounters are vital to making cases against violent offenders. The body-worn cameras the officers will be wearing will be vital for prosecutions. The evidence leaves little doubt to the offender’s role in the crime.

To be effective, the Houston Police Department must roll out 4,086 body-worn cameras. The following officers and supervisors will receive the cameras: all patrol and supervisory first responders, all Investigative first responders up to the sergeant level, all Crime Reduction Units up to the sergeant level, all officers on uniformed “extra job” assignments, and the four lieutenants at the Houston Police Department’s Headquarters Security Command.


Date Created: September 25, 2016