San Antonio is getting $1 million from the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) federal grant program to provide an estimated 2,200 body-worn cameras for police officers as part of a pilot implementation program. The Alamo City joins Chicago, Detroit, Miami and Washington, DC as the highest awarded cities in the United States for the program. .
“I am pleased that the Department of Justice has recognized our municipal leadership in the deployment of body cameras during the past two years though their award of this $1 million grant to the City of San Antonio,” said Mayor Ivy R. Taylor. “Recent events have shown even more clearly that body cams increase transparency and provide valuable information to the community and to law enforcement, helping us achieve our goals of reducing incidents of force and citizen complaints, ensuring safety for the public and officers and building an even stronger relationship between our outstanding police force and our residents.”
The San Antonio Police Department (SAPD) submitted a grant application to the DOJ’s Bureau of Justice Assistance in 2014. A San Antonio delegation, led by Mayor Taylor, City Manager Sheryl Sculley, members of the City Council and business leaders traveled to Washington, DC in February 2015 and met with DOJ officials to advocate for federal funding. Councilman Ron Nirenberg visited with DOJ again in July 2015.
“This grant is one of the priorities in the City’s Federal Legislative Program,” said City Manager Sheryl Sculley. “I’m pleased that we’ve been able to demonstrate to the DOJ that our body cam program is ready for implementation, and we are very grateful for the support of our representatives in Washington.”
San Antonio asked for enough funding to purchase body-worn cameras, with training and data storage programing for about 1,030 police officers. The federal funds will be used to supplement the $3 million approved by FY2016 City budget adopted by the City Council Sept. 10, 2015 for the cameras.
“The Department of Justice recognizes San Antonio as an innovative and thoughtful leader in deploying technology in policing,” stated Councilman Ron Nirenberg, District 8. “The San Antonio body camera policy is viewed as a national model.”
“Transparency and maintenance of public trust are key to our continued success as an organization,” said Interim Police Chief, Anthony Trevino. “We’re proud of our body camera program’s progress thus far. Our testing and evaluation processes were successful and informative, and we’re excited that our policy is being considered a model policy among our peer agencies in Texas.”
The City of San Antonio indicated 285 applications were submitted from police departments in 42 states totaling 55,000 requested cameras at a cost of $56 million. The DOJ awarded 73 grants to fund 21,000 cameras.
Other Texas areas awarded grant funding include Corpus Christi ($125,000), Laredo ISD ($46,499), New Braunfels ($46,499), New Braunfels ($31,745), and Webb County ($18,959).