The purpose of the FY 2021 Body-Worn Camera Policy and Implementation Program to Support Law Enforcement Agencies (BWCPIP-LEA) is to fund the purchase of body-worn cameras (BWCs) that are implemented as part of comprehensive BWC programs. Law enforcement agencies across the country and worldwide are using body-worn cameras as a promising tool to improve law enforcement interactions with the public. Some preliminary evidence indicates that the presence of BWCs helps strengthen accountability and transparency, and can assist in deescalating conflicts, resulting in more constructive encounters between the police and members of the community. Funding can be used to support pilot BWC programs, establish new BWC implementation, or expand existing programs.
Funding under this program supports agencies seeking to establish or expand comprehensive BWC programs and have specified plans to implement this technology in a manner that maximizes the benefits of BWCs. As part of their submission, applicants must describe a deliberate and phased plan to deploy this technology, as well as specific ways it will be used to enhance the applicant agency's mission.
BWC programs are an important tool that could be an integrated part of a jurisdiction's holistic problem-solving and community-engagement strategy, helping to increase both trust and communication between the police and the communities they serve. BWCs can be highly effective, providing an objective audio and visual record of interactions that can capture empirical evidence in the event of a crime, police-citizen interaction, or use-of-force incident.
Funds must be used to purchase body-worn cameras and require a 1:1 match by the grantee. Funds proposed, both federal and matching, may include expenses reasonably related to BWC program implementation. Besides the purchase or lease of BWCs themselves, allowable expenses include, but are not limited to, personnel to support the program, the cost of developing training on BWC use, and related technology costs such as infrastructure enhancements, redaction costs, and storage costs.
The goals of BWCPIP are to support the purchase of BWCs by law enforcement agencies and to ensure that they are deployed as part of a comprehensive body-worn camera program that embodies evidence-based and problem-solving approaches. To achieve comprehensive approaches, agencies should allow broad stakeholder input into program development, develop plans to integrate BWC technology within the agency's operational framework, enhance mutual trust between officers and the community, and promote organizational efficiency. The BWC programs includes the following main objectives:
- Establish a working relationship with the training and technical assistance provider to assure that comprehensive and deliberate BWC policies are developed and implemented.
- Assure that all BWC policies and practices are consistent with applicable state and local laws.
- Develop a planned and phased approach to implementation that achieves broad support from prosecutors and other criminal justice stakeholders, and leverages partnership input to address policy, training, deployment, and procurement of BWCs.
- Implement operational procedures and tracking mechanisms that address the use, review, access, storage, retention, redaction, and deletion of digital evidence media (DEM).
- Demonstrate commitment to incorporating the evidentiary value of BWCs and DEM into daily administrative and field operations in a manner that promotes improvements in criminal justice outcomes, including improvements in officer and citizen safety.
- Establish training protocols for officers, supervisors, and administrators on BWC use and policy.
- Address access to and sharing of BWC footage by agency personnel, prosecutors, other criminal justice stakeholders, and the community
NOTE: Applicants that are seeking only to fund the purchase of BWCs without consideration of the broader program goals discussed below will not be considered for funding. Further, OJP strongly emphasizes the use of data and evidence in policy making and program development in criminal justice, juvenile justice, and crime victim services.
All applicants should be aware that under federal law, OJP may not award grant funds to procure or obtain any equipment, system, or service that uses covered telecommunications equipment or services” as a substantial or essential component of any system, or as critical technology as part of any system. In general, with limited exceptions, covered telecommunications equipment or services” includes telecommunications and video surveillance equipment or services produced by a foreign entity that is specifically designated by statute, or designated by the federal government pursuant to statute.