More than 160 law enforcement agencies are among the first round of departments in South Carolina that will receive nearly $6 million in state grants for body cameras this year.
The Associated Press first reported that the state Public Safety Coordinating Council this month announced it will distribute $5.8 million to all 168 agencies that applied.
Legislators last year voted to require each department in South Carolina come up with body camera policies and get it approved. However, they gave departments time to buy the equipment before those policies take effect.
Committee member State Sen. Greg Hembree, R-Horry, said the money was divided so that smaller departments received their entire request, while the largest agencies got around half their requests and midsized ones about 75 percent.
“We’ve got a long way to go before we get this program fully implemented,” he told South Carolina Radio Network. “But it was a great start and I thought a fair way to allocate the money and get as much in as many communities as we could.”
Agencies had the option to apply for grants to buy cameras and store the video footage. The department could also get reimbursed if it had already purchased the equipment.
Lawmakers last year approved the new requirements in the aftermath of the Walter Scott shooting. In that case, North Charleston officer Michael Slager was terminated, then charged after a bystander’s cell phone video showed him shooting Scott in the back as Scott tried to flee from a traffic stop struggle.