Obama Wants $75M for 50K Police Body Cameras

Military gear programs 'very useful,' White House says
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 2, 2014 1:57 AM CST
Obama: Feds to Fund Police Body Cameras
Eric Holder gestures as he speaks to members of the community during an interfaith service at Ebenezer Baptist Church yesterday.   (AP Photo/David Goldman)

The White House says it wants to rebuild trust between police and communities after Ferguson, and President Obama unveiled what critics say are some pretty modest moves toward that goal yesterday. After a series of meetings with mayors, activists, and law enforcement officials, Obama announced plans that included a proposed $75 million funding package for 50,000 police body cameras, the Los Angeles Times and AP report. He also promised an executive order to give additional training to police forces that get military equipment from the Pentagon, though a White House spokesman defended the much-criticized transfer programs, saying a government review found that in many cases, they "actually serve a very useful purpose." Regulations will be standardized among the agencies that supply the equipment.

"Ferguson laid bare a problem that is not unique to St. Louis or that area, and is not unique to our time, and that is a simmering distrust that exists between too many police departments and too many communities of color," Obama said as he outlined his community policing plans. Another Ferguson response from the administration: In Atlanta last night, Attorney General Eric Holder told an audience at the Baptist church where Martin Luther King Jr. used to preach that new guidance to stamp out racial profiling in policing will be announced within days, the New York Times reports. The Justice Department "will institute rigorous new standards—and robust safeguards—to help end racial profiling, once and for all," he said. (Police in St. Louis, meanwhile, aren't happy about the Rams' Ferguson protest.)

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