The U.S. Department of Justice has granted $500,000 to the Phoenix Police Department and the Arizona State University College of Public Programs to buy 50 video camera systems that police officers will wear on their uniforms.
This “Smart Policing” grant will allow the partner organizations to examine how the video cameras will impact their policing effectiveness and the public’s satisfaction with officers’ performance.
The grant is the next step in an experiment that began last year. The Community Engagement and Outreach Task Force was created in 2010 to improve the relationship between officers and the public. The group recommended that city police pilot the wearable cameras.
People from the task force and the police department seem excited about the possibilities. Julian Nabozny, one of the task force members, told the Phoenix communications team that the cameras would bring a higher level of professionalism to law enforcement. “The utilization of the camera vividly crystallizes the encounter between the police officer and the civilian,” Nabozny said.
Acting Police Chief Joe Yahner told the city that the grant would improve the department’s commitment to community-based policing while sustaining public faith in law enforcement.
“The technology that this grant will provide will enhance our officers’ ability to provide quality police service in keeping with the highest standards of the Phoenix Police Department,” Yahner said.