- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 14, 2002

The Metropolitan Police Department will receive a $149,315 federal grant to buy 27 video cameras for its vehicles.
The Justice Department's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) will provide the funds from a $3 million grant program for purchasing 747 patrol-car video cameras by 20 state police agencies, including the District's. The department also will provide $500,000 for training to ensure the cameras are installed and used properly.
The cameras will be mounted on the dashboards of the patrol cars, "just like you see on the television show 'COPS,'" said Sgt. Joe Gentile, D.C. police spokesman.
Justice Department officials said video cameras installed in patrol vehicles promote officer safety and integrity, and can be particularly beneficial to law- enforcement agencies, officers and citizens during traffic stops. The cameras serve as deterrents to assaults on officers, as training devices and as evidence in trials, officials said.
"Over the past few years, both law-enforcement agencies and the public have come to appreciate the security provided by in-car cameras," said Carl Peed, executive director of COPS. "Cameras help provide an objective record of what takes place during traffic stops or other scenarios. They encourage professionalism on the part of the officer and cooperation on the part of the public.
"COPS is pleased to be able to provide these resources," he said.
Metropolitan Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey yesterday said "the cameras will be useful for us in traffic cases, mostly DWI [driving while intoxicated] and DUI [driving under the influence] stops, giving us clear evidence we can use in court."
The Metropolitan Police Department applied for the grant several months ago and was considering seeking additional money to install more cameras in the near future, Sgt. Gentile said. Part of the $149,000 grant will provide training for officers in using the devices.
Several officers will be selected to take specialized training courses offered by the Law Enforcement Mobile Video Institute in Bryan, Texas, Sgt. Gentile said, adding that the department has not yet determined how many officers it will send.
"We got notification of the grant today," he said. "We will decide which officers we will send over the next few weeks."
Including the federal grants announced yesterday, COPS has provided $18.2 million to fund the purchase of more than 4,300 in-car video cameras.
Since 1995, COPS has invested $9.6 billion to advance community policing, including grants awarded to 12,900 state and local law-enforcement agencies.

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