Hillary Clinton praised the city of Richmond for the launch of its pilot program to provide police officers with body cameras. A statement from her press office Thursday comes shortly after the Richmond Police Department announced plans to equip its force with 200 body cameras by May.
“I was heartened to see Richmond put a pilot program into action this week to equip police officers with body cameras, which will improve transparency and help strengthen trust between law enforcement and the local community,” Clinton said in the statement. “Body cameras are by no means a panacea for the challenges we face in our criminal justice system, but they will help to increase accountability and transparency on both sides of the lens.”
Clinton added that if she is elected president, she will “work to ensure that every police department in the country has access to body cameras as we work to fix the inequities in our criminal justice system.”
Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham said this week that 40 officers are receiving training for the equipment.
After incidents such as those leading to the death of Freddie Gray and the Baltimore riots, police departments across the country have adopted body cameras in an effort to increase transparency.
Such cameras also have been the subject of privacy issue concerns, as noted by Claire Guthrie Gastañaga, executive director of the Virginia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.
"Body cameras are OK on police officers if they don't get to turn them on and off at will, and they can be disciplined if they do that," Gastañaga told Style for a story on new police tools in November 2014. Also, she said, "if there's clear understanding and awareness that when you're being filmed, you're told you're being filmed."