The Baker-Polito Administration announced a competitive grant program to equip municipal police departments across the Commonwealth with body-worn cameras.
The Office of Grants and Research (OGR) within the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security will manage the five-year $20 million program, which is expected to fund 9,000 cameras as well as on-premises servers for secure video storage for municipal police departments. The Baker-Polito Administration included funding for this program as part of the FY22 Capital Budget Plan.
“Body-worn cameras create opportunities to strengthen relationships between local law enforcement and the communities they serve, said Gov. Charlie Baker. “We look forward to partnering with cities and towns to provide these important resources that will improve transparency and accountability.”
Municipal departments can apply for funds to begin a new body-worn camera program or expand an existing program. While only 10 percent of Massachusetts municipal departments operate a program, a recent poll by the Massachusetts Chief of Police Association indicates that more than three of \four department in both major cities and smaller communities are interested in starting a program.
As part of their grant application, each department will be required to submit a comprehensive deployment plan that must describe a deliberate and phased plan to deploy the technology, as well as specific ways the proposed program will enhance the agency’s mission.
“Body cameras are a useful tool that keep both police officers and members of the public safe,” said Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security, Rep. Carlos Gonzáles. “Research has found that police-worn body cameras reduce department costs, promote best practices, and improve police-community relations. Grants such as these that expand their use serve to improve policing across the Commonwealth and carry out the mission of the police reform law we passed.”
The applications became available to municipal departments on June 30 and will remain open until Monday, Aug. 30, 2021. For more information, please visit: https://www.mass.gov/service-details/justice-and-prevention-grants.