AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – The Department of Justice is awarding the city of Aurora a three-year grant totaling $852,580 for the police department’s body worn cameras. The funding is part of $62 million in grants to provide services designed to protect officers and improve public safety.

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The Department of Justice awarded nearly $20.53 million to 82 law enforcement agencies, specifically for body worn cameras.

“Body worn cameras are an important part of policing, both for officers and the public,” said U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn. “This grant will help make Aurora Police Department better and thus the people of Aurora safer.”

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The Aurora Police Department plans to match the grant 50/50 in their budget. The department currently spends about $24,000 each month for equipment and storage. The cost is expected to more than double when a new body camera contract is awarded in late 2020.

APD currently has 525 body camera licenses. It is unknown if the grant money will be used to purchase new licenses/cameras.

Aurora Police Chief Nick (credit: CBS)

In November, Aurora Police Chief Nick Metz said his department is working with vendors to look at different kinds of mounting options for body worn cameras to keep them from falling off as officers make arrests. It came after the department announced no charges would be filed in the death of Elijah McClain, who was arrested on Aug. 24 and went into cardiac arrest twice on the way to the hospital.

Elijah McClain

Elijah McClain (credit: Mari Newman)

Three of the officers’ body worn cameras became dislodged during McClain’s arrest. Chief Metz has also ordered a review of the actions of the officers to determine if the use of force was within department policy.

The grants awarded through the DOJ will also support law enforcement safety and wellness programs, research and services. More than $3 million will fund research and evaluation of safety, health and wellness priorities. According to officials, the investments will include the development of ballistic vests, studies of in-vehicle safety and the evaluation of less-lethal technologies to increase police and public safety.

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