Several members of Congress think body cameras on police will help both cops and the people they are sworn to protect.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), and U.S. Reps. Corrine Brown (D-Fla.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.) last week introduced the Police Creating Accountability by Making Effective Recording Available (Police CAMERA) Act of 2015.

police body camera

Body-worn cameras for police.

Flickr: West Midlands Police

The legislation would create a pilot grant program to help state and local law enforcement agencies develop “safe and effective” body-worn camera programs “that also protect civilians’ privacy rights,” according to Schatz’s office.

“The relationship between our communities and the men and women who protect them is based on trust and accountability,” Schatz said in a statement. “In communities like Ferguson, we have seen that public trust eroded by reports of racism and use of excessive force by police. Body-worn police cameras are already being used by some police departments and have shown to be effective in keeping our communities safe.”

Schatz’s office says that supporters of the Police CAMERA Act of 2015 include the American Civil Liberties Union, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

It also has local support.

“It is my hope that the benefits of the body-worn camera, as was shown with our pilot program, will be the gateway of creating and manifesting better relationships with our citizens through enhanced service delivery,” Darryl D. Perry, chief of police of the Kauai Police Department, said in a statement. “I sincerely believe that body-worn cameras will provide an open and translucent atmosphere in law enforcement beyond our expectations.”

The Hawaii Legislature this session has considered police body-camera legislation.

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