Kenney to propose funding more body cameras for police
On Wednesday, Mayor Jim Kenney announced on 900-AM WURD that he would propose funding for body cameras in Thursday's budget address to City Council.
"This is an important step forward in Philadelphia's police-community relations," Kenney said later in a press release. "Across the country, body-worn cameras have been extremely successful in reducing instances of use of force as well as police abuse allegations, especially those that are unfounded."
Some city agencies have already implemented the use of body cameras. On Jan. 1 of this year, all members of the SEPTA Transit Police Department received body cameras.
In an interview with NBC News, when the plan was first announced back in August 2015, SEPTA Police Chief Thomas Nestel said: "I'm doing this because I think that it gives our police department more credibility with the community — that they'll have more trust with us, that they feel there's some kind of check and balance.”
The transit authority spent nearly $300,000 on the cameras for the more than 270 officers who are expected to use them.
In September of 2015, police officers in North Philadelphia's 22nd District had volunteered months prior to take part in a pilot program that tested the value of body cameras, according to the Daily News.
Last March, the success of the pilot program in the 22nd District pushed former Mayor Michael Nutter to call for Philadelphia to outfit as many as 450 police officers with body cameras at the cost of about $500,000.
Kenney's budget proposal, in combination with philanthropic funding, would support 800 body cameras and the IT capabilities needed to effectively manage that footage.
The proposed budget also includes a total over $30 million over six years for the Police Department for infrastructure investments in the Police Academy Firearms Training facility, Police District offices, and the Police HQ. The City's Six Year Plan will also include over $30 million for Fire Department infrastructure needs and equipment and $47.5 million for new fire vehicles.