Brown: Bill includes millions in programs to benefit police departments

Staff report

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced that the Fiscal Year 2016 omnibus appropriations bill includes $476 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. It also includes $212 million for Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), a program within the U.S. Department of Justice dedicated to community policing.

“As residents and police officers call for more transparency and accountability, we need to give police departments the resources they need to rebuild trust with their communities,” Brown said. “This funding will help communities improve police-community relations by investing in expanded law enforcement training, resources for department reform, and new technology like body cameras.”

In May, 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).

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.

Staff report