WILMINGTON (DE): Wilmington Police will soon be wearing body cameras thanks to a $630,000 federal grant for the program. The program, which has had many delays mostly due to funding and planning can now proceed., said Mayor Mike Purzycki.
The announcement came today from the United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance., according to a news release from the city.
Earlier this month, the Wilmington City Council approved an Administration request for $400,000 to support additional police officer staff positions to manage the new program.
“The Council supports police reforms such as the body camera program because we know it will help build trust between the community and police officers,” said Council President Shabazz. “Wilmington has made progress with public safety in recent years and anything we can do to promote transparency and accountability on everyone’s part, we will do it.”
“I extend my thanks and appreciation to City Council for its support and patience as we awaited word of the receipt of this much-needed grant,” said Mayor Purzycki. “Chief Tracy and his staff have done great work already to get this program operating as soon as possible. We said all along that we would have started this program with or without a federal grant because it’s that important. But it sure is good at a time of COVID-related dwindling revenue to receive this critical support from the Department of Justice and from our Congressional Delegation.”
Chief Tracy said if the contract with Axon, the national firm that will provide equipment and assist with implementation, is approved tonight by City Council, the WPD will move immediately forward to implement the program as quickly as possible.
The Chief said next steps include ordering the cameras; securing the funding from the federal government; working with the City’s Human Resources Department in finalizing discussions with the FOP Lodge #1 police union regarding police camera policies; working with our federal partners through the technical assistance aspect of the grant to ensure the WPD adopts best practices in policy and administration; assigning and training personnel to manage and administer the program; training each officer on how to use the cameras; and ensuring that the technical framework for the program is established.
Earlier last month, Mayor Purzycki and Chief Tracy said the ongoing public review of policing policies is intended to create more transparency and understanding of policing to promote more support and cooperation among City police officers and residents.
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