The use of body cameras by law enforcement officers has become increasingly commonplace in recent years to both prove that officers' actions were necessary. For example, if an officer is forced to kill someone in self defense and the camera records the incident, the body camera video can be used to prove that officers in that situation were acting in self defense and not out of more nefarious purposes. Body camera video can prove whether or not law enforcement statements are valid or were merely meant to protect the department.
However, the use of body cameras is being heavily discouraged in the state of Illinois right now. The reasons can range from the camera program needing more work to police tampering with their body cameras, to the body camera program being too expensive to justify its cost.
Illinois Body Camera Program Needs Reworking
One of the main reasons why the law has begun to discourage some police departments in Illinois from their officers using body cameras is because a significant number of people believe that their body camera program, as it is right now, is far too ineffective to be able to do its job properly. For example, under the current program, there are a number of legislative and legal roadblocks that make using these cameras more of a hindrance than a benefit. The main argument made by many officers is that maintaining the camera program is too much of a burden for the administrative staffs of many departments for them to be able to reasonably continue with these programs. The most significant problems that have been brought up have to do with the current program is that police have to doctor footage to remove faces and other personal details. They believe that the program would be more likely to hinder police efforts and until this camera program is more refined, it would be wise to hold off on using body cameras.
Body Cameras Tampered with by Police
Another issue brought forward by those who oppose body camera usage is that these cameras can be easily tampered with. There are also some concerns about when officers may be required to disable their cameras. Some parts of the law concerning camera footage can be somewhat difficult to carry out, particularly due to the amount of recorded footage that contains people not being investigated. Most departments are required to blur out the faces of every person in a recording not under investigation, and this can require a substantial amount of time and labor and can cause logistical problems for smaller departments.
Equipping Police with Body Cameras Costs Too Much
The third reason used to justify the laws restricting body cameras in Illinois is that the program just costs too much and gives state law enforcement departments little-to-no benefit in return for the cost. Most police departments already have funding issues and do not want to spend valuable funds on cameras. Those departments who do want to pay for implementing body cameras have had to ask for donations and raise traffic fees in order to pay for and expand this body camera program.
Illinois Body Cameras
If you are interested in the Illinois body camera program and would like more information on how the program works right now, contact the offices of Benassi & Benassi, P.C., today at (309) 674-3556.