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Rhode Island to equip every uniformed officer with body cameras

PROVIDENCE — Rhode Island leaders on Wednesday proposed equipping every uniformed police officer in the state with body-worn cameras.

Democratic Gov. Dan McKee and other state leaders unveiled legislation to equip about 1,700 patrol officers across every police department and the state police with the cameras over the next year or so.

They said the program will take advantage of federal funding as well as a commitment of up to $1 million from state Attorney General Peter Neronha's office, which helped develop the legislation.

The program is expected to cost about $3 million a year in state funding over roughly five years, officials said.

Senate President Dominick Ruggerio, House Speaker Joseph Shekarchi — both Democrats — and law enforcement leaders also voiced support for the proposal, which is expected to be taken up by the House Finance Committee on Thursday.

The proposal is an “important step forward in strengthening trust, accountability, and transparency” between officers and citizens, McKee said.

He and the other leaders said the proposal will also require creation of statewide policies to ensure that the cameras are used effectively.

The Providence and Newport police departments have already adopted body-worn camera programs in recent years.

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