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Federal grants help Ind. officers with cameras, LPRs and supporting technology

Grants totaling $1.5M will outfit Gary officers with dash cams, body-worn cameras and more


By Alex Dalton

GARY, Ind. — Gary Mayor Jerome Prince and U.S. Rep. Frank Mrvan, D-Highland, announced Monday that the Gary Police Department had secured a $1 million federal grant. The funds will go towards body-worn and car-mounted cameras for the department’s officers.

“There are 435 members in Congress and each day we had to fight and compete for these Community Project Funding grants,” Mrvan said at a press conference. “I am committed to making sure we focus on bringing dollars back to public safety and for the quality of life.”

Interim Police Chief Jerry Williams said that the department aims to purchase around 100 in-car cameras. The department has already acquired body cameras for its officers and is in the process of getting them out into the field.

Implementing the cameras comes with an increased logistical burden for the police department, which will need to digitally store, catalogue and in some cases redact thousands of hours of footage. Implementing “behind the scenes” software and procedures, Williams said, accounts for a significant portion of the time and money invested before cameras are rolled out. He said that Gary residents will see the first police officers outfitted with body cameras “in the next couple of weeks.”

Body-worn cameras were among the recommendations put forward by Prince’s Police Reform Commission, which was established in 2020 that in the wake of the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer and a subsequent nationwide wave of protests against police violence.

The grant announced on Monday was the second recent piece of federal support received by the Gary Police Department. On April 4, the Gary Common Council voted to accept a $500,000 federal grant for the department’s purchase of additional license plate readers and laptop computers.

The license plate readers will feed information to the Police Department’s soon-to-be-operational, real-time crime center, which will allow officers to respond more quickly to crimes, Williams explained.

“It’s been a long time since the city of Gary and specifically the police department has received such a significant amount of resources dollars in a very short period of time,” Prince said, telling Mrvan that “we’re using our dollars wisely, so keep it coming.”

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