It's hard to believe, but one of the state's biggest law enforcement entities is still one of the few without body cameras for its officers.

That's about to change if nearly $400,000 in funding is greenlit to purchase the equipment. According to the Cedar Rapids Gazette, the Iowa Department of Public Safety has asked for $386,000 to equip the Iowa State Patrol (ISP) with body cameras.

Money for the cameras and software would come out of the state's Technology Reinvestment Fund and the process could take another 12-14 months before a camera program is installed across the ISP.

Increasing transparency

Besides the cameras being an incredibly useful tool in the toolbox of state troopers, it's also a matter of transparency to the public. A state public safety spokesperson said,

body camera video is a public record under Iowa Chapter 22, which the Department of Public Safety follows

Some equipment is already in place

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds earmarked $2.2 million federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, or CARES, Act for the routers needed for squad cars to connect the body cameras. These are already being used to upload video from dashboard cameras.

Last year, the Iowa legislature also approved a Public Safety Equipment Fund of an initial $5 million, half of which came from the Rebuild Iowa fund, and the other half from the state's general fund.  This is where the remaining money needed for the actual cameras would come from. The state will seek competitive bids for the cameras, which they expect to range from $600-$1000 and a final decision is expected in mid-to-late April, near the end of the legislative session.

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