The Yuma Police Department announced on Tuesday that it has been awarded a federal grant to partially fund a program to purchase body-worn cameras for its patrol officers, who regularly interact with the public.

Spokesperson Sgt. Lori Franklin said the grant, in the amount of $104,988.00, is from the U.S. Department of Justice's "Body-Worn Camera Policy and Implementation Grant" program.

The program was started last year due to a recommendation by The President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing that law enforcement agencies use technology to strengthen relations with communities.

Franklin said while she does not know when the funding will be available, the department will use it to establish a pilot program that will consist of officers field testing several different models of body cameras. Footage from the cameras will also have to be stored, which will also come at a significant cost.

"There are a lot of different types of body cameras, so we are going to start testing the various models to see which is best for our department's needs," Franklin said. "We are hoping to get started as soon as possible."

The department, Franklin said, will also need to develop its policies and procedures and plans to review the policies and procedures from other law enforcement agencies already using body cameras to determine what practices are best for the city and its officers.

There will also need to be an evaluation period that Franklin said would examine the way and manner the body cameras are used prior to all officers using them.

Franklin said while the grant requires a match from the City of Yuma, it can be met with non-monetary contributions, such as in-kind implementation and RICO funds.

Pending approval from the Yuma City Council, Franklin said the police department’s goal is to buy 70 body-worn cameras and 12 docking stations.

The Yuma Police Department, which applied for the grant earlier this year, was one of 106 law enforcement agencies across the nation that received funding from the U.S. Department of Justice program this grant cycle.

James Gilbert can be reached at jgilbert@yumasun.com or 539-6854. Find him on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/YSJamesGilbert or on Twitter @YSJamesGilbert.

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