- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 26, 2015

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky is teaming up with a few Democrats to push a measure that would help state and local law enforcement cover the cost of purchasing or leasing body-worn cameras as part of pilot programs that will test whether the equipment could help increase public trust in law enforcement and bolster public safety.

Mr. Paul, a likely 2016 GOP contender, Sen. Brian Schatz, Hawaii Democrat, Rep. Corrine Brown, Florida Democrat, and Rep. Keith Ellison, Minnesota Democrat, announced Thursday they introduced a bill called the Police Creating Accounting by Making Effective Recording Available Act of 2015, or the CAMERA Act.

“Body cameras will benefit the brave men and women who serve in our police force and the people they protect,” Mr. Paul said in a joint statement. “The use of body cameras helps officers collect and preserve evidence to solve crimes, while also decreasing the number of complaints against police. The Police CAMERA Act will help state and local police departments access this new tool, while ensuring that the privacy rights of every civilian is respected.”

The press release said that these pilot programs have worked, reducing the number of complaints against police, including for the use of excessive force.

The bill calls for an impact study after two years, and is backed by the American Civil Liberties Union, the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Leadership Conference n Civil and Human Rights, as well as local police departments across the country, the press release said.

“The relationship between our communities and the men and women who protect them is based on trust and accountability,” Mr. Schatz said.

“In communities like Ferguson, we have seen that public trust eroded by reports of racism and use of excessive force by police,” the Democrat said. “Body-worn police cameras are already being used by some police departments and have shown to be effective in keeping our communities safe. Our legislation would help expand the responsible use of body-worn police cameras and help make sure our police officers and law enforcement agencies are more accountable to the communities they serve.”

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

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