House passes Rep. Castro's police body camera amendment

Joaquin Castro wins District 20 US House of Representatives seat.
Joaquin Castro wins District 20 US House of Representatives seat.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Tuesday, Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20) introduced an amendment to increase funding for police body cameras that unanimously passed the House of Representatives.

The amendment allocates an additional $10 million to the Department of Justice's Body Worn Camera Partnership Program and brings funding for that program up to $25 million.

Rep. Castro's amendment is on H.R. 2578, the CJS Appropriations bill, on which the House is expected to vote in the coming days.

"In recent years, we have seen more and more tragic encounters between community members and law enforcement that have been impossible to ignore," said Rep. Castro. "The American public and national police organizations alike widely support the use of body cameras and the accountability that technology brings. My amendment makes it easier for law enforcement agencies to afford body camera technology and is one of several steps needed to help rebuild trust between our communities and police."

Already, 25 percent of the nation's 17,000 police agencies use body cameras, and studies show that 86 percent of Americans support requiring on-duty patrol officers in their communities to wear video cameras. The International Association of Chiefs of Police has also voiced its support for the technology.

The funding Rep. Castro's amendment provides to the Body Worn Camera Partnership Program supports competitive grants for the purchase of body-worn cameras for law enforcement agencies, as well as training and technical assistance. The amendment is cost-neutral.

"These additional resources will help increase law enforcement accountability, mend police-community relations, and improve the safety of cities and towns across America," added Rep. Castro. "I'm pleased this important measure received such strong, bipartisan support."

Cruz released the following statement regarding the Senate's passage of the USA FREEDOM Act:

"The USA FREEDOM Act is the right policy approach. It protects the civil liberties of every American. It ends the federal government's bulk collection of personal data from law-abiding citizens. And at the same time it ensures that we maintain the tools that are needed to target violent terrorists and prevent acts of terror. That's why the House passed it overwhelmingly, and today the Senate passed it with a two-thirds majority. That's why I'm proud to be one of the original cosponsors of this bipartisan legislation. The USA FREEDOM Act strikes the right balance between protecting our privacy rights and our national security interests, and I am pleased that today Congress has passed this bill and is sending it to the President's desk."

The following video is of Rep. Castro introducing his amendment on the House floor: