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Justice Department launching body camera pilot program

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The Department of Justice is launching a $20 million body camera pilot program.

The program includes as many as 50 grants for departments to buy the cameras and train officers how to use them. One third of the money would go to small departments.

The announcement was welcomed by departments that say the cost for the cameras and equipment is unbelievable.

"You have some kind of evidence instead of hearsay," said Davenport Police Chief Don Schaeffer.

The Davenport Police Department tested out six cameras for 60 days in May 2014.

"We put them out in patrol traffic and even in some of our undercover work to see how they would do and they were successful," said Schaeffer.

They're preparing to buy some in the next year. Originally, he wanted to purchase 150 cameras, but he estimates the cost for a quality camera is close to $1,000.

"The cost is unbelievable," he said.

That doesn't include the cost of storing the video and the potential overtime for officers to download the video.

"Those are all above and beyond the cost of just the camera," said Schaeffer.

The grants from the Justice Department will cover camera and training costs.

"Ya we would like to apply for it because it's very costly," he said.

And still new.

"Part of it is, you got to develop that policy. Part of it is citizen's rights might be violated. You don't want to do that, when to have it on, when not to have it on, we want to have all those things answered," said Schaeffer.

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