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LPD gets $11K grant for body cameras

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Council approves acceptance of funds

By Jesef Williams

Lancaster Police Department officers will soon be equipped with cameras as they patrol city streets.

City Council voted unanimously Tuesday, June 25, to allow the Lancaster Police Department to accept a $11,079 Justice Assistance Grant. 

The money will be used to buy body cameras for sworn officers.

Council’s vote was 6-0, as Councilman Kenny Hood was absent from Tuesday night’s meeting.

“These items will be used while officers are on routine patrol and may also be utilized during undercover investigations, sting operations, investigative interviews and documenting criminal activity within the community,” according to an outline of the grant program and the expected use.

Lancaster Police Chief Harlean Howard said her department is still researching to determine which type of body cameras to buy. She estimates the department will buy at least eight of them. 

“They will be worn exclusively by officers who are on patrol,” Howard said.

The Lancaster Police Department has received JAG grants several times before. This is the 12th year the department has been eligible for the funding, which falls under the federal Department of Justice.

“I think it’s especially needed for what those foot patrol officers are doing in these hard crime areas,” Councilwoman Tamara Green Garris said about the body cameras.

In 2012, the department was awarded a 12,897 JAG grant that went toward security cameras.

Howard said those cameras are placed in “hot spots” in the city that have seen high crime. Those locations have not been disclosed.

The grant summary, though, said the cameras will be used during undercover investigations and sting operations and will also be used to document criminal activity in the city.

In past years, the grant paid for bullet-proof vests for officers, new radios, pistols, pistol accessories, Taser guns, laptop computers and docking stations for the mobile data terminals (MDTs) that are used in police vehicles.

“Job well done,” Councilwoman Sara Eddins said told Howard. “We appreciate everything you do for us.”

 

Contact reporter Jesef Williams at (803) 283-1152