The Constitution gives Congress the authority to pass all laws "which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers". Which of the foregoing powers suggests that it is the role of the federal government to provide money to local police departments to buy body cameras for their officers? President Obama has asked Congress to provide $263 million for this and other "community policing" efforts. This is a blatant example of the over-reach of the federal government. The purpose of government is supposed to be to do for the people what they are unable to do for themselves. Protection from force and protection from fraud, if you are a proponent of the libertarian position. When did local police departments become unable to buy themselves body cameras or vehicle cameras (or gun-sight cameras for that matter), but paid for by the local citizens who want that protection for themselves and for their police officers.
I happen to agree that cameras are a good idea. I was harassed by California cops when I lived down there and had to sit in court and listen to them lie about the traffic stop because it was their word against mine. I also think that cameras will protect the police just as much as they will protect the citizen by preventing false abuse accusations. But why does the federal government, $18,000,000,000,000,000 in debt as of a couple days ago need to be the sugar daddy for the camera movement?
One reason is that $263 million is such a drop in the bucket compared to the national debt that no one will blink an eye, whereas the local city council might have to actually set some funding priorities and cut some other program that is less popular with the people paying the bills.
The other reason is far more disturbing, however, and that is the promotion of the Progressive mantra that has taken over our political system, that no problem can be properly solved without the guidance and assistance of a centralized government. This idea, that funding for virtually everything must come from the federal government, is a blight on our freedom. The disconnect that people have, that somehow federal government spending is "free money", is both dangerous and widespread, and is resulting in a centralization of power in this country that does not bode well for the future of our Constitutional Republic.
For political reasons it will be supported by many Republicans as well as all the Democrats. I don't blame Democrats for voting for it because this is their end game. The Progressive movement believes in central government and hates the idea of local control or individual responsibility. The Republicans, however, have been infiltrated by Progressive ideas to the extent that they will vote for this while thinking it is a good conservative idea. They will justify it by calling it a law enforcement program, and touting it as a program that promotes individual responsibility and public safety. In the long run, however, it serves on purpose an done purpose only. Too inculcate the idea that the federal government is the place to look for solutions when there is a problem in the country, rather than to the people.