The White House on Monday announced it would spend $263 million in federal funds on 50,000 police body cameras and training in response to the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.
Of the funds set aside by executive order, $75 million will cover the cost of body cameras to be spread among police departments throughout the country, while the remainder is used to properly train police in the use of surplus paramilitary gear including assault weapons and armored vehicles, which departments have been purchasing with the help of the Department of Homeland Security since the wind down of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. (RELATED: Police Departments Are Losing Tons Of Military Grade Weaponry)
Some of those funds will also go toward police outreach programs designed to improve communication and relations between departments and their surrounding communities. The funding includes a matching provision for local and state departments.
The call for cameras has increased significantly since the police shooting of unarmed 18-year-old Brown in Ferguson, Mo. in August. Ex-officer Darren Wilson, the shooter, was cleared of any wrongdoing by a grand jury in late November. The Department of Justice has yet to conclude its investigation into the shooting.
In response to the grand jury decision, the parents of Michael Brown issued a statement last week asking supporters to “join with us in our campaign to ensure that every police officer working the streets in this country wears a body camera.”
The White House’s funding is only one small step toward that goal according to The Verge, which reports more than 750,000 police officers currently employed throughout the U.S.