- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 27, 2015

MONROE, La. (AP) - Monroe Police Chief Quentin Holmes says he will apply for a competitive federal grant that would be used to purchase body cameras for all officers.

The News-Star reports (https://tnsne.ws/1AxHVP7) approximately $2 million is available through the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, a component within the U.S. Department of Justice. Agencies awarded grant funding can receive up to $250,000.

The department has until June 16 to apply.

Police originally planned to ask the city council permission to purchase the cameras for 160 officers with funds from the police department’s budget.

The total cost for the cameras will be around $54,000.

The federal funding is part of a competitive grant to test and implement body cameras for police. It would be a 50 percent match if awarded to the department, cutting the potential cost to the city in half.

Police have already completed its field testing, using five police officers to test new body camera equipment. The officers have worn the body cameras since November while evaluating the performance of the cameras to determine if they benefit the department.

“We’ve gotten very good feedback from the public, which has a spirit of cooperation and understanding about the privacy concerns. We know there will be interest from all sides of having access to this data. We feel confident everyone understands the privacy concerns,” Holmes said.

Police say anytime an officer is conducting official police business, the body camera must be turned on. Officers also must notify people when the body camera has been switched on, especially before entering a residence or business.

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Information from: The News-Star, https://www.thenewsstar.com


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