State money to pay for police body cameras is expected to be distributed to law enforcement agencies across South Carolina as soon as next month.
Legislation signed by Gov. Nikki Haley last year requires officers to wear the cameras, but the law’s provisions hinge on those departments being able to purchase the somewhat expensive equipment and storage capacity. The Department of Public Safety’s Public Safety Coordinating Council in June set aside the first round of grants to those departments purchasing the cameras: $5.8 million to all 168 agencies that applied.
Council members 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.
Agencies across the state that have already purchased the cameras can get reimbursed by the Department of Public Safety.
A list released by the department to WMBF-TV shows the Ninth Circuit Solicitor’s Office is getting the highest individual payout at $137,500.
Lawmakers approved the new requirements in the aftermath of the Walter Scott shooting last year. In that case, North Charleston officer Michael Slager was fired, then charged with murder after a bystander’s cell phone video showed him shooting Scott in the back as Scott tried to flee from a traffic stop struggle. Slager’s attorneys have argued Slager acted correctly and that Scott had fought to grab the officer’s Taser seconds earlier.