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article imageObama asks Congress to buy 50,000 body cameras for U.S. police

By Marcus Hondro     Dec 2, 2014 in Politics
In an effort to help increase the trust minority communities have in their police forces, President Obama asked the U.S. Congress to provide funding for police body cameras. It was one of a number of measures the president spoke of on Monday.
"This is not a problem just of Ferguson, Missouri," Obama said of the issue of mistrust and minority communities. "This is a national problem. But it's a solvable problem." Obama added that there is a "simmering distrust" between police and minority communities in the country.
He spoke of funding of about $263 million to pay for 50,000 body cameras to be distributed to police forces around the U.S., to help improve police training and to help create more trust in policing.
The president also said he's spoken to federal agencies about the militarized equipment given to police and said they must ensure the U.S. does not build a "militarized culture" in its police forces. At this time there is a program in the U.S. where redundant equipment from the armed forces is given to police agencies in the country.
There's been criticism of the manner in which some equipment was used to deal with ongoing protests in Ferguson. Protests have continued since Nov. 24, when the grand jury failed to indict former Ferguson officer Darren Wilson for shooting unarmed black teen Michael Brown dead.
There are 626,000 policeman patrolling America and 50,000 body cameras would not enable all of those on the streets to wear a camera. But many police who deal with the public routinely would be able to wear a body camera.
Obama is set to announce a new task force that will make recommendations on the subject of '21st century policing.' It will be led by Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey and the former AG of the Office of Justice Programs Laurie Robinson.
The task force will report back to Obama 90 days after it begins its work.
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