DOJ Provides Funding for Body-Worn Cameras to Small, Rural, Tribal LE

July 7, 2021 — The Justice Department recently announced that the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) is releasing $7.65 million in a competitive microgrant grant solicitation that will fund body-worn cameras (BWCs) to any law enforcement department with 50 or fewer full-time sworn personnel; rural agencies (those agencies within non-urban or non-metro counties); and federally-recognized tribal agencies.

“The Justice Department is committed to providing law enforcement with valuable resources to increase accountability and build trust with the communities they serve,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “Today we encourage all small, rural, and tribal law enforcement agencies to apply for funding for this important tool that will enhance protection for both officers and citizens.”

“The grant solicitation today will help law enforcement agencies and their communities improve evidentiary outcomes, and enhance the safety of, and improve interactions between, officers and the public,” said Acting Director Kristen Mahoney of BJA. “Importantly, this grant program will make it easier for small, rural, and tribal law enforcement agencies to apply for funding. It’s an online application that will streamline the grant process for these agencies.”

Funds must be used to purchase or lease body-worn cameras and may include expenses reasonably related to BWC program implementation. Funding can be used to support pilot BWC programs, establish new BWC implementation or expand existing programs.

BJA has selected Justice & Security Strategies Inc. to administer the grant program through a cooperative agreement. For more information and to apply, please visit https://www.srtbwc.com. All applications are due by August 31, 2021.

Agencies interested in body-worn camera funding that do not meet the eligibility criteria for small, rural and Tribal as described in the microgrant solicitation should note that the FY 2021 Body-Worn Camera Policy and Implementation Program to Support Law Enforcement Agencies grant solicitation is currently open. That solicitation will close on July 12, 2021. The anticipated total amount to be awarded under that solicitation is $27.5 million.

Today’s announcement follows Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco’s recent memo to the department’s law enforcement components directing them to develop and submit for review their plans for BWC policies that require agents to wear and activate BWC recording equipment for purposes of recording their actions during: (1) a pre-planned attempt to serve an arrest warrant or other pre-planned arrest, including the apprehension of fugitives sought on state and local warrants; or (2) the execution of a search or seizure warrant or order. The Deputy Attorney General will work with the department’s law enforcement components in the coming weeks to review their policies and finalize implementation plans.

For resources to support the development and implementation of body-worn camera programs, the Department of Justice has created a Body-Worn Camera Tool Kit.

The Bureau of Justice Assistance helps to make American communities safer by strengthening the nation’s criminal justice system. BJA’s grants, cooperative agreements, training and technical assistance and policy development services provide state, local and tribal governments with the cutting-edge tools and best practices they need to reduce violent and drug-related crime, support law enforcement and combat victimization.

 
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