DENVER (CBS4) – Arguing that it would increase transparency and help police departments avoid controversy, President Barack Obama has pledged more than $250 million toward body cameras for officers across the country.
The president’s call echoes what Denver’s police chief, Robert White, said in August.
White then said he wanted more than 800 body cameras for his officers.
“I think the body cam, to some degree, will help clear up the controversy to some of these calls,” White said.
The devices are worn on the officer’s glasses or lapel. Departments across the country wear them with resounding support, calling the program a success and asking for it to be expanded.
“This is not the be-all to the answer in policing, but I think it’s a very important tool,” White said.
$75 million are expected to go to making body cameras more available in police departments, adding nearly 50,000 more across the country.
The president’s order is tied to criticism over how local police departments receive military-grade equipment. It also arrives after a white police officer learned he won’t face charges in the shooting death of a black teenager in August — an incident that wasn’t recorded and spurred multiple and conflicting reports about what happened.
Darren Wilson shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown on Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Missouri. A grand jury last week advised against charging Wilson in Brown’s death. That decision, in addition to larger questions about police transparency and honesty, has fanned calls for police body cameras.
Obama said he believes cameras will help police and critics find common ground.
“I’m convinced that if we work hard, we can make sure police officers and the communities are partners in battling crime,” he said.