U.S. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) wants the federal government to spend $100 million to help local police agencies pay for body-worn cameras for their officers, McClatchy Newspapers reports. Scott Safer Officer and Safer Citizens Act of 2015 would provide grants over five years to places that provide a 25 percent match in funds they request. Scott said local law enforcement agencies that apply for funding would have to develop policies for retaining the video captured on the body cameras and disclosure issues. “Our goal is not to find a way to nationalize local law enforcement,” he said yesterday, “but to specifically do the exact opposite.”
Scott has been one of Congress' leading proponents of body cameras. He stepped up his advocacy after the fatal shooting of Walter Scott, an unarmed African American, by a white North Charleston police officer in April. There already are some funds for body cameras in appropriations bills that have yet to clear both chambers of Congress. In May, the Justice Department embarked on a $20 million pilot program that will provide grants to as many as 50 police departments to purchase body cameras and train officers on their use.