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2024 | WINTER

Body-Worn Camera Micro-Grants for Small, Rural, and Tribal Law Enforcement Agencies

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Mike Beller

Article

2024 | WINTER

Body-Worn Camera Micro-Grants for Small, Rural, and Tribal Law Enforcement Agencies

Mike Beller

One of the biggest challenges for a police chief, sheriff, or member of command staff is to obtain the best tools and equipment for officers or deputies while operating with a limited budget.  By taking advantage of available grant funding, agencies can overcome this challenge and provide officers or deputies with equipment agencies otherwise might not have been able to afford. 

The Small, Rural, and Tribal Body-Worn Camera Micro-grant program (SRT BWC) is funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and administered by Justice & Security Strategies, Inc. (JSS). 

Eligible law enforcement agencies include: 

    1. All small departments with less than 50 full-time sworn personnel;
    2. Rural agencies (those agencies within non-urban or non-metro counties); or
    3. All Federally-recognized tribal agencies. 

This program is designed with smaller agencies in mind, with minimal red tape, and very reasonable requirements. The on-line application for this program is user-friendly. It consists of 30 questions requiring yes/no answers, multiple choice answers with drop-down menus, three questions requiring brief narratives, and a budget.  Funds must be used to purchase body-worn cameras and may include expenses reasonably related to BWC program implementation, such as docking stations, servers, and mounts. Funding can be used to establish new BWC implementation, expand existing programs or upgrade equipment that is out of date.

Funding is capped at $2,000 per BWC purchased.

Benefits of Body Worn Cameras for Police

  1. Transparency, Accountability, and Trust: Enhances transparency and public trust in law enforcement agencies by providing a visual record of interactions. This record helps provide accountability for officers, as well as citizens.
  2. Improved Behavior: Both officers and civilians tend to exhibit better behavior when they are aware of being recorded, thus reducing the likelihood of confrontations, and helping deescalate tense situations. This improves safety for both officers and citizens.
  3. Evidence: The ability of officers to review footage results in more accurate and comprehensive incident reports. Interviews, statements, and crime scenes are documented more accurately. These recordings can serve as valuable evidence in criminal investigations, resulting in just outcomes in criminal proceedings.
  4. Training Tool: BWC footage can be used for training purposes to assess and improve officers’ responses in various situations.
  5. Complaint Reduction: Reduces the number of complaints against police officers, saving time and resources in internal investigations.
  6. Community Policing: Fosters positive community relations as residents see police actively working to address concerns and issues.
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This grant is competitive, but chances of approval are higher than most grants of this type.  In the latest round of awards in August 2023, $7.1 million in funding was approved for 265 agencies out of 641 agencies that applied, which is an approval rate of over 40%.   Nineteen of these were Georgia agencies, ranking 3rd behind Illinois and Pennsylvania.  A cash or ‘in-kind’ match is required.

The grant timeline is a minimum of 12 months and a maximum of 36 months.  Two requirements for funding:  a comprehensive BWC Policy, with assistance and help in crafting the policy, and monthly data reporting for 12 months of the grant.  The data reporting is done through a secure portal and includes questions such as:

  • How many cameras were purchased?
  • How many officers trained?
  • How many uses of force and complaints per month?

 

The next opportunity to apply for this grant will be the end of November 2023 with a deadline of February 2024.  You can go to www.SRTBWC.com and use the blue button at the bottom of the homepage to register to be informed of upcoming funding opportunities.

 

If you have any questions regarding this grant, please reach out directly to Mike Beller at [email protected]

 

Stay informed of upcoming SRT funding opportunities as well as helpful BWC resources by providing us with your contact information.

 

Mike Beller

Mike Beller

Assistant Chief Mike Beller (Ret.) – Retired after 25 years of service with the Chamblee, Ga Police Department.  He now serves as a Senior Police Advisor for Justice &Security Strategies, Inc.

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