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Alexandria gets $600k federal funding boost for body-worn cameras

Body-worn camera (photo via Tony Webster/Flickr)

Rep. Don Beyer announced yesterday (Thursday)  that the Alexandria Police Department has officially been awarded $600,000 in federal funding to get the city’s beleaguered body-worn camera program off the ground.

The federal funding was allocated as part of a Department of Justice (DOJ) grant in the omnibus spending bill, which was approved in March pending the DOJ grant process. A spokesperson from Beyer’s office said the DOJ recently approved the grant, clearing the way for the money to get to the police department.

“I’m proud to announce that the DOJ’S Office of Justice Programs has awarded the funds to support this critically important initiative in our community,” Beyer said in a release. “Body worn cameras are an important and necessary tool for bringing more transparency, accountability, and trust in policing in our communities.”

The release noted that the Alexandria Police Department is the only full-service law enforcement agency in Northern Virginia without a body-worn camera program. While neighboring Arlington and Fairfax got body-worn camera program pilots up and running around 2016, a series of budget shortfalls and extensive finger-pointing between the police department and the city government meant Alexandria police officers only started wearing body cameras earlier this year.

Even the pilot program approved in this year’s budget was significantly scaled back to $2.2 million compared to the $13 million budget request from then-Police Chief Michael Brown.

Photo via Tony Webster/Flickr

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