Fairfax County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved today (Tuesday) $4 million to begin implementation of police body worn cameras.
The Fairfax County Police Department is set to receive roughly 1,200 body-worn cameras that would be phased in over three years with a five-year contract for equipment, licensing and storage.
Officers from the Reston District Station are expected to receive the body worn cameras in May 2020.
The approval comes amid mixed results of a recent American University study on the county’s pilot program and some concern about the cost of the program.
Before the vote, Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity shared concerns about the fiscal impact of the proposal.
Herrity said that he has concerns about the funding coming from the reserve — one-time fund — and that body worn cameras are getting prioritized over increases in police officers’ pay.
“This is going to set our public safety budget back by millions of dollars,” Herrity said, adding that he wants more information about the extra costs the cameras will place on the Public Defenders’ Office.
While Herrity also took issue with the approval for the funding happening outside of the budget cycle, Chairman Sharon Bulova said it’s necessary to have the funding before the budget decisions in May.
The $4.3 million approved by the board today comes from the Reserve for Ad-Hoc Police Practices Review Commission Recommendations.
“This amount will cover the initial cost of equipment, infrastructure enhancements and will allow for the immediate recruitment and hiring of personnel to ensure a seamless implementation on or about May 1,” according to county documents.
In response to Herrity’s concerns that the program is meant to address national issues with police, Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust said that the program is not trying to address criticism of police outside of Fairfax County.
“The overwhelming support in the community for doing this is important. We know our community pretty well and we know the respect the community has for the Fairfax County Police Department,” Foust said. “We have the tech to do it, and we should move forward.”
Story by Catherine Douglas Moran; Fatimah Waseem contributed reporting
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