City of Elgin police officers are testing body cameras, an initiative funded in part through a federal grant administered by the Bureau of Justice Administration. The cameras are used to record police interactions with the public and to gather video evidence. They also help maintain accountability for both officers and citizens.
Elgin Police Commander Ana Lalley said the department currently has 10 police officers testing various camera models. Depending on the make and model, the cameras can attach to a lapel, glasses, or on the center of the chest. In addition to collecting information and recording interactions, research shows that body cameras can help reduce the amount of time officers spend on paperwork.
"We're testing various models for their durability and field of view," Commander Lalley said. “The cameras must have at least 10 hours of battery life and the ability to roll back 30-seconds of video from the time an officer initiates the official recording.” The footage that is captured will be subject to Freedom of Information Act requests, which has the police coordinating with the city's legal department to address privacy and other concerns.
The federal grant will provide matching funds of up to $250,000, the commander said. Elgin was awarded the grant in October and plans to continue the pilot program into the summer. Once the type of camera is selected, the department will purchase approximately 100 body cameras and provide them to Elgin officers who serve on patrol and in other specialty units.
Police in Illinois are not required to wear body cameras, but legislation passed in 2015 set guidelines on how they should be worn, when they should be turned on, and how long video should be retained.
Elgin Police Department
151 Douglas Ave.
Elgin, IL 60120