Paul pushes police body cameras
© Greg Nash/The Hill

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulGOP senators call for probe of federal grants on climate change Overnight Health Care — Presented by the Association of American Medical Colleges — Key ObamaCare groups in limbo | Opioids sending thousands of kids into foster care | House passes bill allowing Medicaid to pay for opioid treatments US watchdog: 'We failed' to stem Afghan opium production MORE (R-Ky.) has introduced legislation that bolsters the use of police body cameras.

The legislation, introduced in the Senate by Paul, a potential 2016 contender, and Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), would create a pilot program to help local and state governments acquire the cameras.

"The use of body cameras helps officers collect and preserve evidence to solve crimes, while also decreasing the number of complaints against police," Paul said in a statement, adding that the legislation "will help state and local police departments access this new tool, while ensuring that the privacy rights of every civilian is respected."

The legislation follows a string of shootings, including that of Michael Brown last year in Ferguson, Mo., which raised public questions.

Schatz said Ferguson is an example of why body cameras are needed.

"In communities like Ferguson, we have seen that public trust eroded by reports of racism and use of excessive force by police," he said. "Body-worn police cameras are already being used by some police departments and have shown to be effective in keeping our communities safe."

The Hawaii Democrat added that the legislation would "help make sure our police officers and law enforcement agencies are more accountable to the communities they serve."

The legislation also requires a study looking at what, if any, impact the use of body cameras has on reducing "excessive force" by the police, as well as improving officer safety.

Reps. Corrine BrownCorrine BrownFormer Florida rep sentenced to five years in prison for fraud, tax evasion Genuine veteran charities face a challenge beating the fakes Former Florida rep found guilty of tax evasion, fraud MORE (D-Fla.) and Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) introduced companion legislation in the House.