Arlington County

Arlington County Proposes $1M for Body-Worn Camera Program

Thousands of people had signed petitions calling for Arlington County to implement a body camera program

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After weeks-long demonstrations demanding police reform across the country over the police-involved killings of Rayshard Brooks, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, Arlington County is moving ahead with a plan to provide police and the sheriff's department with body-worn cameras.

County Manager Mark Schwartz is budgeting more than $1 million for the program.

Schwartz said the decision was spurred by calls for reform across the county, and the need to preserve residents' trust in county officers.

"We want to reinforce those positive public perceptions and to ensure actions, especially those involving use of force, are transparent. The time has come for body-worn cameras in Arlington," Schwartz said in a statement.

The Arlington County NAACP supported the program and says nearly 10,000 people signed two petitions in support. They also called for a citizen's review board, revised use-of-force policies and greater transparency on complaints against officers.

Arlington County piloted a program on body-worn cameras in 2015, but the county hasn't had the money to build out the plan, Schwartz said.

The proposal for next year includes $268,000 for hardware, $244,000 to upgrade courtrooms t support the technology. Most of the money, $536,000, is set to go to data storage and maintenance.

The Arlington County Police Department, Arlington County Sheriff’s Office, and Arlington County Fire Marshals would all get cameras.

Another $755,000 is marked to replace existing police car camera systems with one compatible with body-worn cameras.

That money is part of the Capital Improvement Plan proposed for 2021. In the future, an estimated $1.6 million a year would need to be spent on staffing, data storage, maintenance and other costs.

The program is expected to be implemented in January if the Arlington County Board approves the plan in July.

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