City gets grant to begin police body-camera program
CPD expects implementation to take a year or more
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – The City of Clarksville has been awarded a federal grant in the amount of $337,500 by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice for a Body-Worn Camera Policy and Implementation Program.
Clarksville was the only agency in Tennessee to receive an award in this round and has a long history with Bureau of Justice grants totaling over $1.9 million since 2004.
The grant program requires a 50/50 match from the City, and a budget amendment for that amount will be presented to the City Council. As part of the grant request, the Council earlier approved a resolution expressing support for the grant and committing to “sustaining the long-term program after the initial funding expires.”
This grant funding will allow the Clarksville Police Department to develop policies and an implementation program to begin using body-worn cameras to improve law enforcement interactions with the public.
“We’ve worked hard for more than two years on this grant, and I’m thrilled to announce our application has been approved,” Mayor Kim McMillan said. “The Clarksville Police Department does an excellent job with community relations, and body-worn cameras will only enhance these relationships by providing additional transparency and accountability.”
Police Chief Al Ansley, who had worked to strengthen the City’s application after the first request in 2015 was unsuccessful, said he was pleased the second application was approved.
“This shows the U.S. Department of Justice has faith in the Clarksville Police Department’s ability to properly implement this program,” Ansley said. “This is just the first step in a phased approach that will require a lot of public input, planning and training. Because this is a complex process, we expect Clarksville police officers won’t begin wearing body-worn cameras until late 2018 or early 2019.”
Implementation of the camera program will require engagement of law enforcement, local political leadership, and the community.
First, comprehensive policies must be established that address civil rights, domestic violence, juvenile and other privacy issues as well as data storage, retention and disclosure.
CPD also will develop methods to capture feedback from the public, create training and implementation plans and write policies for video capture, viewing, use, release, storage, and process/data audits and controls.
The public will be invited to provide input, review and comment during policy development and final review through public meetings, the City’s website and social media. CPD will be scheduling public meetings regarding Clarksville’s Body-Worn Camera Policy and Implementation Program.