U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii is praising an Obama Administration announcement Fridayt that it will provide $20 million in grants to local police departments around the country for the purchase of body cameras for officers.

The grants represent the first portion to be approved by Congress of a $75 million, three-year body camera funding program requested in December. Selected departments will be part of a pilot program to evaluate the effects.

“The announcement today by the administration is an important step forward,” said Schatz in a press release. He said he hoped that participating police departments will be encouraged “to put in place responsible policies to ensure that cameras increase accountability and protect the privacy rights of citizens.  I support the administration’s efforts and will continue to push for legislation to rebuild the trust between communities and the police and to reform our broken criminal justice system.”

Last month, Schatz introduced the Police Creating Accountability by Making Effective Recording Available (Police CAMERA) Act of 2015.

Civil Beat recently published an editorial citing Hawaii’s need for police body cameras.

police body camera

Body-worn cameras for police.

Flickr: West Midlands Police

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