This release by Cleaver’s office says it all:
House Approves Congressmen Al Green and Emanuel Cleaver’s Resolution to Support Local Law Enforcement Agencies’ Use of Body-Worn Cameras
On Wednesday, June 10, 2015, the House of Representatives approved H. Res 295, to support local law enforcement agencies’ use of body-worn cameras, sponsored by Rep. Al Green (TX-9) and Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (MO-05). Additional original cosponsors for the resolution include Reps. Ted Poe (TX-2), Yvette Clarke (NY-9), William Lacy Clay (MO-1), Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-3), and Kevin Yoder (KS-3). The resolution specifically acknowledges local law enforcement agencies for their service to communities, and recognizes the positive benefits body-worn cameras have had on police-community relations
“Body cameras are one part of a broader solution to keep our communities safe and promote accountability,” Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II said. “This resolution reminds us that our goals must be to increase transparency, protect the rights of all parties involved, and to provide better evidence for any police investigation, both for the citizens and also the officers. I am proud to have fought for body camera funding in President Obama’s budget proposal, as well as during the appropriations process in the House of Representatives. Together with other members, we were able to secure $25 million dollars’ worth of funding. This victory, while impressive, highlights the pressing need for substantive legislation on this issue.”
“I support the efforts of peace officers to serve and protect our community, as well as enforce the rule of law,” Congressman Al Green said. “For that reason, I want our peace officers to have all the tools necessary to build police-community relations, improve transparency, and maintain legitimacy. One such tool for achieving this is body-worn cameras. Although body-worn cameras are not a panacea and authorities are still working to allay concerns about possible violations of privacy, implementation is still a significant step in the right direction that many of our local law enforcement agencies have already taken. While there is more work to be done, steps taken by local law enforcement agencies, when taken together have moved us forward as a nation on the issue of transparency and accountability in law enforcement.”
“This resolution sends a clear message that the House of Representatives supports the safety and security of both our brave men and women in the police force and the members of our communities across the country,” Representative Kevin Yoder said. “During a time where relations between law enforcement and citizens across the country are sadly strained, I’m proud to join with Representative Cleaver to show our constituents in the Kansas City area that this issue is not a partisan issue, but one that we can all get behind.”
The resolution highlights a report by the U.S. Department of Justice entitled “Police Officer Body-Worn Cameras.” The report found that body-worn cameras increased transparency, citizen views of police legitimacy, improved behavior by citizens and police alike, as well as assisted in the prosecution of criminals. It also cites a 12-month study by the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Criminology on the use of body-worn cameras by law enforcement in the United Kingdom. The study found that the body-worn cameras led to an approximately 50 percent reduction in use of force, and complaints against police fell by approximately 90 percent.
Reps. Cleaver and Green worked to secure inclusion of body camera funding in President Obama’s FY2016 budget proposal. The President’s new Community Policing Initiative aims to build and sustain trust between law enforcement and the people they serve.
Reps. Al Green and Emanuel Cleaver have also introduced the Camera Authorization and Maintenance-Transparency in Policing Act (CAM-TIP) of 2015, so that Congress can join with the President and local law enforcement agencies on the issue of transparency and accountability in law enforcement. The CAM-TIP Act of 2015 would establish a grant program to help fund body-worn-camera use by local law enforcement agencies.
Emanuel Cleaver, II is the U.S. Representative for Missouri’s Fifth Congressional District, which includes Kansas City, Independence, Lee’s Summit, Raytown, Grandview, Sugar Creek, Blue Springs, Grain Valley, Oak Grove, North Kansas City, Gladstone, Claycomo, and all of Ray, Lafayette, and Saline Counties. He is a member of the exclusive House Financial Services Committee, the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance, and also a Senior Whip of the Democratic Caucus. A high-resolution photo of Congressman Cleaver is available here.