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Initiative to equip state police with body cameras part of new state budget

Police officer David Moore is pictured wearing a body camera in Ipswich, Mass., on Dec. 1, 2020. The city was among 25 statewide awarded grants to purchase body-worn cameras for videotaping interactions with the public. A new study says the benefits to society and police departments outweigh the costs of the cameras.
Police officer David Moore is pictured wearing a body camera in Ipswich, Mass., on Dec. 1, 2020. The city was among 25 statewide awarded grants to purchase body-worn cameras for videotaping interactions with the public. A new study says the benefits to society and police departments outweigh the costs of the cameras.

Michigan's new fiscal year begins Friday, Oct. 2, and one of the initiatives in the new budget is to equip Michigan State Police officers with body cameras. #3.8 million will pay for the cameras and data storage.

Republican state Sen. Tom Barrett chairs the Senate state police budget subcommittee. He saidbody cameras are becoming standard gear for officers working in the field.

“Quite a few local departments, of course, have already been using body cams," Barrett said. "They’re more and more common nowadays, and we just felt it was important to bring Michigan State Police up to that standard, as well.”

Barret said he believes body cameras are a tool that can help protect the public from police misconduct and protect officers from false accusations.

“The body cams do add a layer of both accountability for the officers and protection for them as well, so they can be protected against accusations that may not be true against them," Barrett said.

The next step is for the department to issue a call for companies to bid on the project.

It’s not clear how long it will take to equip all state police officers with body cams, but Barrett says the first priority will be troopers on road patrols or other field work that brings them into direct contact with the public.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the final budget bills Wednesday.