Years since mandating officers wear body cams, funding issues remain

Years since mandating officers wear body cams, funding issues remain

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Although it's been two years since South Carolina's General Assembly passed the law to require law enforcement wear body cameras, some funding gaps remain. On Monday morning, the state's Public Safety Coordinating Council (SCPSCC) met and sorted out how law enforcement agencies would be awarded state dollars toward equipping officers with cameras this year.

The council's challenge this year centered on how to allocate roughly $2.5 million available to 119 agencies that requested about $8.8 million. Most agencies simply will not have their requests met in full. 

Last year, lawmakers allowed about $5.8 million of the general budget toward the body cameras. This year, funding narrowed. The PSCC says its goal is to help equip the agencies who request help, then to assist them in the costs of covering body camera footage storage. 

There are some agencies that do not request state dollars, or that only request some of their funding needs; those agencies mostly turn to separate gr ants or their municipal governments to make up the difference. 

But the South Carolina Department of Public Safety (SCDPS), including the Highway Patrol, will have to choose which troopers in which posts across the state are equipped with the body cameras. The agency did not receive all of its funding request. Director Leroy Smith estimates it would cost about $5 to 6 million to roll-out the cameras on all troopers; this year, SCDPS requested $1,002,091.30 and was awarded $88,380.62.

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