Virginia’s Largest Police Force Will Operate Without Body-Worn Cameras For Another Year

Richmond, VA-–An amendment that would have required officers of the Virginia State Police to wear body cameras was quietly stripped from this year’s state budget, which was finalized on Monday.  The amendment, sponosred by Delegate Lashrecse Aird, would have purchased body cameras for all VSP officers and would have staffed a program to collect and review the footage.  

After the murder of George Floyd in 2020, eight states began requiring that their state police wear body cameras; since then, dozens more have passed legislation on the issue. .

After the murder, in Virginia, some members of the General Assembly pushed for increased police accountability, including the use of body-worn cameras by law enforcement, and several localities mandated their use for local police departments.  However, the Virginia State Police, the largest law enforcement agency in the Commonwealth, has not adopted body cameras for their officers, citing cost concerns. Aird’s budget amendment would have provided $48.1 million and nine positions each year to establish and maintain a body-worn camera program for the VSP. The funding was removed by the Senate Finance Committee and ultimately was whittled down to a request for a feasibility study. 

“Four years after George Floyd’s murder, it is becoming clear that our legislature is all talk and no action when it comes to police accountability and building community trust,” said LaTwyla Mathias, Executive Director at Progress Virginia. “Body-worn cameras are a proven way to decrease police violence against our community, and it is absurd that we can’t provide this basic tool of transparency for the largest law enforcement agency in the Commonwealth. We call on leadership to restore this funding in next year’s budget so we can prevent more unnecessary acts of violence and be sure that law enforcement officers are upholding the oaths they made.”