Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler announced today she secured $95,000 to fund Long Beach Police Department’s Body Camera Project in a spending plan advanced by the U.S. House Appropriations Committee. The project is supported by the Long Beach Police Department and the City of Long Beach.
As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, Herrera Beutler advocated for the inclusion of this community-requested priority in the FY23 Commerce, Justice, and Science Subcommittee Appropriations bill. The bill now awaits approval from the full U.S. House of Representatives.
This Long Beach-specific project is included in a total of over $7.4 million in specific funding priorities Herrera Beutler helped secure to support Southwest Washington law enforcement operations, including improving law enforcement radio communication systems, access to police body-worn cameras, and de-escalation training.
“With crime rising throughout Southwest Washington, it’s vital we support our community police forces to meet the challenge,” Herrera Beutler said. “I’m pleased that my efforts to equip Long Beach police officers with these important tools have been successful so far, and I’ll continue pressing for this community priority until we get it across the finish line. This effort to better protect officers and the citizens they serve is worthy of taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars.”
“I would like to thank Representative Herrera Beutler for her assistance in helping the Long Beach Police Department acquire this funding for body cameras for my officers. Body cameras are a great tool for keeping officers accountable for their actions and also for clearing officers when a false accusation comes in. These camera systems are not cheap and can really impact a small agency’s budget. Representative Herrera Beutler really came through for us and for the community. I can’t thank her enough. Jaime is a great supporter of law enforcement and the citizens we serve,” Long Beach Police Chief Flint Wright said.
“Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler has been a fantastic supporter of Law Enforcement and especially to Long Beach, Washington,” Mayor of Long Beach Jerry Phillips said. “As a destination location, we go from our population of about 1700 and during events, weeks, and holidays to 20,000 to 90,000 people. With a Police Department of 9 officers, it is always a challenge. In our efforts to maintain public safety and transparency, body cameras and vehicle cameras are critical to our community. Long Beach had a challenge to accomplish the initial purchase of this vital equipment. It is only with the great support of Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler caring about small cities and public safety that this has provided a destination city like ours to move forward in providing a greater community service and validation of the quality service our law enforcement provides. It is with great gratitude to Jaime for devoted dedication to small communities like Long Beach that keep cities strong and in return make a great state. Our community thanks you!”
Long Beach project funding details:
Long Beach Police Department Body Camera Project - $95,000
- Funding for body cameras for the Long Beach Police Department will help keep citizens and officers safe. These devices help keep all parties accountable, provide documentation for public records requests and help protect police officers and citizens against false claims of misconduct or abuse. Body cameras have already been implemented at the request of both police officers and communities across the U.S. and have shown measurable benefits to public safety and accountability.
Other Southwest Washington project details:
Lewis County Public Safety Radio Communications Project - $2,800,000
- Funding for the Lewis County Public Safety Radio Communications project will improve countywide mobile and portable radio coverage, as well as ensure radio system reliability to improve public safety. Replacement of Lewis County Public Safety radio system infrastructure is essential to provide for reliable communications for all Lewis County law enforcement and first responders, 911-related communications, and all state agencies operating within the region.
Cowlitz County Public Safety Radio Technology Modernization & Radio System Microwave Replacement Project - $2,179,000
- Funding would be used to replace the obsolete and failing public safety radio equipment. Cowlitz 911 provides emergency communication and dispatch services to six law enforcement and six Fire/EMS agencies serving more than 100,000 residents. The safety of both community members and the emergency responders who serve them is reliant on this mission-critical radio equipment. Without updates and maintenance to this equipment, responders will be unable to talk to each other or 911 dispatchers, leaving no way for dispatchers to effectively deploy and manage critical resources to emergency situations.
Longview De-Escalation Police Training Simulator Project - $215,000
- Southwest Washington communities continue to experience an increase in violent incidents often involving people with co-occurring substance use disorders and mental health conditions. Federal funds will support the acquisition of a simulator for Longview and Kelso officers to gain experience in a safe training environment that will reinforce good tactics and decision-making. Using an interactive training simulator is a cost-effective way to implement on-going training for officers, in turn allowing them to support the community more effectively and increase public safety.
Wahkiakum County Radio Improvement Project - $1,595,000
- Funding for this project will upgrade the entire county radio system. Unfortunately, the current system is obsolete and inadequate for the population it serves. This system provides the communications for Law Enforcement, Fire, Ems, P.U.D, school district, public works, and the Town of Cathlamet. An upgrade to the emergency communication system will allow all emergency responders to provide better service to the residents of Wahkiakum County. An improved system will also benefit those who travel through the county, as the main route that connects the Long Beach Peninsula to communities inland passes through Wahkiakum County. The safety of both community members and the emergency responders who serve them is reliant on this mission-critical radio equipment, and an upgrade will benefit their well-being.
Battle Ground Public Safety Technology Improvements - $413,000
- Strategic funding will help improve the city of Battle Ground’s safety and emergency response capabilities, which are currently constrained by out-of-date police technology, an inadequate number of outdoor cameras, and limited video storage capacity. Currently, all regional first responders are unable to communicate with each other or the 911 center inside the larger Battle Ground Public School District school locations. In addition, the Battle Ground Police Department relies on video surveillance to expand the department’s reach and capacity with constrained resources. Adequate video surveillance is critical to its ability to protect citizens and property for both immediate intervention of criminal activity and investigating criminal conduct after the fact. Also, installing radio repeaters inside schools ensures reliable communication capabilities in an emergency which increases student safety. Federal funding will help bolster overall community safety with comprehensive technology improvements intended to protect students and residents, as well as public and private property.
Washougal Police Body-Worn Camera Program - $131,000
- Federal funding will support the Washougal Police Department to establish a Police Body Worn Camera program to ensure high-quality service of its officers, increase transparency and openness, and strengthen trust in the community. Body-worn cameras will enable the agency to document all encounters in the field and develop clearer understandings of events, which may assist in the criminal justice process.