As of March 2015, only about one-third of U.S. police departments outfitted their officers with body cameras. That number has climbed a bit higher as of 2018, but the reality is that body and dash-mounted cameras, and the data storage that they require for everything they capture, cost money. Sometimes police body camera costs feel out of reach for smaller departments or those who directed available funding to other important projects. Don't worry, there are always more options.
First of all, there should be opportunities for funding from your state government. Contacting your State Administering Agency to ask about specific grants or unallocated money is a good way to start.
Second, there are a plethora of federal grants available. These federal department grants are listed as potentially covering police body camera costs:
Bureau of Justice Assistance
Department of Homeland Security
Citizen Corps Program
Third, you could dig around for grants from private foundations, or approach businesses and groups within your community to see if they would be interested in funding your body cam initiative. A local branch of a big corporation might be especially interested in the great PR that comes with supporting the local police department.
Fourth, and last, is getting creative by fundraising within the community. Community fundraisers don't have to extravagant parties, they could be as simple as tabling at local events or putting on a talent show. Community outreach and bonding is always a good idea.
Departments looking to invest in body cams in 2018 should be relieved to know that overall police body camera costs have gotten more affordable in the last few years. Press coverage built up around body cams has made them a recognizable and desirable cause for many citizens and other potential sources of funding. Whether you go the traditional grant-seeking route, rally to get the cost factored into the next round of department budgeting, or organize a festive fundraiser for the community, better safety, and accuracy for your department is just around the corner.