4 critical steps for applying to the 2015 Body-Worn Camera (BWC) Pilot Implementation Program

The 2015 Body-Worn Camera (BWC) Pilot Implementation Program application is due June 16, 2015

The Department of Justice has announced a $20 million Body-Worn Camera (BWC) Pilot Partnership Program “to respond to the immediate needs of local and tribal law enforcement organizations.”

The program includes $17 million in competitive grants for the purchase of body-worn cameras, and is part of a larger initiative to “invest $75 million over three years to purchase 50,000 body-worn cameras for law enforcement agencies.”

The 2015 Body-Worn Camera (BWC) Pilot Implementation Program application is due June 16, 2015. Because proper planning and project development are critical to successfully applying for  this funding, there are four important keys to remember that will help you  prepare your application. 

1. Understand the purpose and intent of this grant. This is a pilot project to aid in developing the standards for the implementation of body-worn camera programs across the nation. The funding is to provide resources to law enforcement agencies to establish or enhance BWC Policy and implementation programs (PIP). The grant document states:

“Successful applicants will develop and implement policies and practices required for effective program adoption, and will address program factors including the purchase, deployment, maintenance of camera systems and equipment, data storage and access, and privacy considerations. BJA expects the BWC programs to make a positive impact in the quality of policing in these jurisdictions and to inform national efforts to improve the use of BWCs more broadly. While BWC equipment may be purchased under this program, successful applicants must demonstrate a commitment and adherence to a strong BWC policy framework, including comprehensive policy adoption and requisite training.”

All applicants must follow current research and other data-driven resources which define the current standards and lessons learned from BWC experience across the nation. BWC is currently a promising practice which results in improved interactions with the public and a highly effective tool. All applicants must review and utilize the following resources to develop their proposed plan for BWC implementation within their department. These resources will aid in the successful development of your grant application:

A. Check the COPS/PERF resource page
B. Search “Body Worn Camera” on the IACP website 
C. See alos, the OJP Diagnostics Center Resource Center
D. Check out BJA Assistance resource 
E. Review National Institute of Justice resources 

2. Pay close attention to the expectations, goals, objectives, and deliverables. The pilot project you present in your application will be expected to develop a strong, comprehensive, problem-solving project that incorporates a BWC program into the project. Cross-agency collaborative planning with community partnerships such as citizen and community groups, prosecution, defense counsel, labor organizations, and the like, must be included in the planning and development phase of this grant project. 

Policies, procedures, and protocols required for the implementation of this project and the BWC program must be driven by data and evidence concerning BWC. This includes careful review and consideration of the need for issues such as privacy concerns, impact on community, addressing officer concerns, managing expectations and financial considerations such as the cost of implementation and cost-savings strategies 

To begin building your program, review the COPS document: Implementing a Body-warn Camera Program: http://ric-zai-inc.com/Publications/cops-p296-pub.pdf 

You’ll also need to review the primer on body-worn cameras for law enforcement from NIJ. http://www.nij.gov/topics/law-enforcement/technology/pages/body-worn-cameras.aspx

3. Develop strong plan and measurement tools for outcome measurement of both the program development phase and the implementation phase of this project. Since this is a pilot project, it will need strong methodologies for measuring its effectiveness. Everything you plan in order to build and develop this program will need to be measured, counted and filtered through an evaluative measurement. This includes the outcomes of community engagement, impact of policy and procedure implementation, cost effectiveness, cost reduction, communication strategy effectiveness, and the increase in transparency and accessibility between community and law enforcement.

4. Assure your compliance with the following priority considerations. If your agency is unable to assure that you are able to demonstrate your ability to prove the following priority considerations you will not be able to submit a successful application. 

A. Priority consideration will be given to applications that demonstrate significant involvement of the local and/or state prosecutor’s office, meaning that the prosecutor’s office has a direct role, with law enforcement, in establishing relevant policy, system selection, and retention specifications. 

B. Priority consideration will be given to applicants that demonstrate cost reductions through economies of scale. For example, one method would be for applicants to submit proposals that combine efforts and demonstrate collaboration between agencies. This economy of scale is to leverage the size of system purchases to influence cost savings from providers. When combining applications, one agency should act as the designated applicant but the agency size should be the combined number of sworn officers between all represented agencies. For example, if agency A has 200 sworn officers and agency B has 100 sworn officers, the applicants could submit for as much as $450,000, the same as a mid-sized agency with 300 officers. All other relevant partners should also be considered and evidence of understanding and commitment demonstrated in the submitted application. 

C. In order to maximize the usefulness of BWC technology, priority consideration will be given to applicants that incorporate the following functions for 18 core operating characteristics in their procurement of BWC technology. These minimum operating characteristics and associated audio/video specifications are available in current commercial products and are based on technical resources about criminal justice use of video

A successful application will include all of the items mentioned above along with a properly formatted, complete and accurate application. Do not skip any suggested research or reading in the grant notice. Make sure your department is up-to-date on the entire scope of body-worn camera programs. The more closely your project aligns with current research and lessons learned, the more likely you will be funded. 

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