PORTSMOUTH — Portsmouth Police Chief Robert Ware says police departments across the nation rely heavily on federal and state grant funding to provide equipment, technology and programs to help keep our communities safe.
On Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced that President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget proposal includes $383.5 million for the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne JAG), which has provided more than $15 million to help Ohio police departments utilize body cameras and other innovative technologies.
The proposal also requests $40 million for additional body cameras and training, $22.5 million for bulletproof vests, and $229 million for Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), a program within the U.S. Department of Justice dedicated to community policing.
“The Portsmouth Police Department routinely receives awards under the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne JAG) and Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) programs,” Ware told the Daily Times. “Without grants, it would be extremely difficult to outfit our officers with the equipment necessary to do their jobs safely and effectively and to complete many of the technology upgrades required to operate the department.”
More than 600 JAG recipients nationwide have used federal funding for police camera technology. This technology has been found to reduce the use of force by officers by as much as 60 percent, reduce citizen complaints by as much as 88 percent, assist in resolving complaints against the police, and reduce the likelihood of false complaints against the police.
In May 2015, Brown led a group of 17 senators in writing to Senate Appropriations Chairman Thad Cochran, to request full funding for the President’s proposal for a three-year, $263 million investment in body-worn cameras, expanded law enforcement training, and additional resources for police department reform.
That same month, Brown’s office hosted seminars in Cleveland and Columbus on applying for grant programs – like Byrne JAG –administered by the COPS Office, the Office of Justice Programs (OJP), and the Office of Violence Against Women (OVW).
“We need to give our police departments the resources they need to effectively protect and build trust with their communities,” Brown said. “I’m pleased that the budget underscores the importance of investing in expanded law enforcement training and new technology to support our officers.”
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.