By Mark Abrams
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia’s top cop is pushing for funding to help equip police officers nationwide with body cameras.READ MORE: Heat Health Emergency In Philadelphia Has Residents Running For Cover From Sun: 'This Heat Is Like, Dangerous'
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, interviewed on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday, agreed that body cameras are valuable tools in policing, but urged lawmakers requiring communities to buy them to support those purchases with grants.
“The expense associated with body cameras really needs to be taken into account as our lawmakers pass legislation requiring it,” Ramsey said, “as departments move in that direction.”
Ramsey’s appearance on the show came days after a university police officer in Cincinnati was indicted on murder charges in the shooting death of an unarmed black man during a traffic stop. The incident was captured on the officer’s body camera and the recorded footage led to his indictment.READ MORE: Man Killed, 2 Others Injured In Shooting Outside Popeyes In North Philadelphia: Police
Ramsey said along with the technology, police departments need to focus on recruitment and training as part of the equation.
“We train several of the university police that are located in Philadelphia,” the police commissioner said. “But recruitment is an issue across the country, trying to get diversity, trying to get people in our ranks that really have the proper skills to be able to deal effectively with the community in today’s environment.”
Ramsey served as co-chair of President Obama’s task force on 21st century policing.
As to cameras for Philadelphia, a pilot program testing cameras from vendors is ongoing. But Ramsey is hoping to see all street officers equipped with body cameras over the next three to four years.MORE NEWS: Mother Of 6 Stabbed To Death In West Philly Had Protective Order Against Fiance Charged In Her Murder
Meanwhile, SEPTA will spend some $300,000 to equip its transit officers with body cameras by the end of the year.