WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama wants to see more police wearing cameras to record events like the shooting death of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown, but is not seeking to pull back federal programs that provide the type of military-style equipment used to dispel the resulting racially charged protests in Ferguson, Missouri.
The White House announced the conclusions of a three-month review Monday as the president was holding a series of meetings with his Cabinet, civil rights leaders, law enforcement officials and others to go over the findings. At least for now, Obama is staying away from Ferguson in the wake of the uproar over a grand jury’s decision last week not to charge the police officer who fatally shot Brown.
“This challenge of strengthening trust between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve has been laid bare in Ferguson in a pretty dramatic way,” said White House press secretary Josh Earnest. But he wouldn’t say if additional training of Ferguson police would have resulted in different outcome there.
Obama is proposing a three-year, $263 million spending package to increase use of body-worn cameras, expand training for law enforcement and add more resources for police department reform. The package includes $75 million for to help pay for 50,000 of the small, lapel-mounted cameras to record police on the job, with state and local governments paying half the cost. The FBI estimates there were just under 700,000 law enforcement officers in the US in 2011.