New gov't push to fund body cameras for police officers

Rep. Cleaver: This protects everyone


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," January 15, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, rather than be surprised on tape, maybe it's time for each and every cop in America to have a camera already strapped to his chest?

Democratic Congressman Emanuel Cleaver pushing federal funds to pay for just that.

Congressman, always good to have you.

What would that do? What do you think that does?

REP. EMANUEL CLEAVER, D-MO.: Well, it protects the police officers and it also protects those that the police officers are sworn to protect.

There are false charges against police every day all over the country. And there are also times when police misconduct does in fact happen. And I think this protects everyone. This is not a flawless kind of a technology. There still are some little issues that would need to be worked out.

But if we're able to get the $263 million in the budget, it will purchase about 50,000 cameras. Law enforcement agencies can apply for those cameras if they have a part of a match. And so local communities would have some involvement in it.

And there are lot of little caveats here. But I think it would be something that most people would continue to support. Keep in mind, more than 80 percent of the American public today supports the use of body cameras on police officers.

CAVUTO: Well, and you are right to say there is a precedent for it. There are dash-cams now that most cops use on the road, and it's now become an accepted part of their instruments.

But I have spoken to a number of police, Congressmen, who tell me far more urgent is that they get weapons or weapons beefed up because, given what happened in Paris, where these guys had Uzis in one of the strictest gun control cities and countries in the world, those guys were outmanned, outgunned and out-weaponed.

So, what do you think of that, that they like your camera idea, some of them do, but far more pressing is just getting them better weapons?

CLEAVER: Well, we have the 1033 program that has been criticized a great deal. I have actually criticized it for small cities. And that's where surplus military equipment can be received law enforcement agencies, at no cost from the Department of Justice, from Homeland Security and from the Department of Defense.

CAVUTO: Right.

CLEAVER: I think that that program is going to be modified.

But I still believe that we need to give the most sophisticated equipment we can legally give to police departments and cities, where they are always going to be one of the places targeted by terrorists. We have got to have that. I'm going to be one of the strongest advocates you can find for that kind of thing. But...

CAVUTO: Do you worry, though, that in the push for cameras -- and it's -- certainly your intentions are clear and good -- that you're almost telling the police, we don't trust you when you go out there, we want you to have this camera on, so that we can police you, police?


What we're saying is, police officer, we do trust you, and we know that there are people who are going to claim that you violated your trust. The camera will show what happened.

CAVUTO: Got you.

CLEAVER: And we are also saying to the public, sometimes, there are legitimate complaints, and when you have a legitimate complaint, we will be able to see it.

There was a great deal of difference in how people look at what happened in Ferguson and what happened in Staten Island. The difference was, it was all on camera in Staten Island. And so I think people can come down...

CAVUTO: All right.

CLEAVER: Even people on your network have said that that was a problem in New York.

So I think the cameras are a benefit for police and the public.

CAVUTO: All right.

Real quickly, while I have got you here, sir, Hillary Clinton still remains the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination. Many have urged within your party that she be challenged. Do you think she should be?

CLEAVER: It's always -- we are all -- it's always healthy to have a challenge in a political primary and in a general election, for that matter.

But I don't think it's going to happen. I think the Democratic Party is pretty much locked in behind Secretary Clinton. And I don't see anybody coming...


CAVUTO: You don't worry that is a little too early, a little too presumptuous?

CLEAVER: Well, as a person who considers her a personal friend, she has not even confided with me. And I have tried to get her to say what she was interested in doing.


CLEAVER: So, she has not said to anybody who is talking that she is in fact going to run. So it may not be too early. We may all be out talking about her, and she is ready to do grand-mama duty.

CAVUTO: Yes, or it could be you, for all we know.



CAVUTO: Congressman, it's always a pleasure, sir. Thank you very, very much.

CLEAVER: All right, good to talk with you.

CAVUTO: All right.

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