Mundelein candidates support police body cameras, but some have limits

 
 
Updated 2/18/2015 6:05 PM

All four candidates running for seats on Mundelein's village board think police officers should wear body cameras -- but one thinks officers should not be allowed to record video on private property.

"I just have a little bit of a problem with that, going into people's houses and recording things in the house itself," candidate Bill Rekus told the Daily Herald. "It's kind of private. That's why they call it private property."

 

Candidate Dakotah Norton also voiced concerns about police officers using cameras on private property, saying the property owner's consent should first be obtained.

"Different rules apply in private buildings or institutions," Norton said.

Joining Rekus and Norton in the race for three seats on the board are Paul Roscoe and Kerston Russell. None have held elected office before.

The posts are open because a trio of incumbents -- Terri Voss, Ed Sullivan and Robin Meier -- aren't seeking re-election. All three seats carry 4-year terms.

Mundelein Police Chief Eric Guenther is a big fan of body cameras. He wants to start a pilot program and hopes everyone on the force is wearing them a year from now -- once Illinois' eavesdropping law is changed to allow them.

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"Technology helps us," Guenther said during a candid public forum about police operations last month. "Technology is good."

The village board has not discussed the issue.

Rekus, 70, who works in sales and is a member of Mundelein's plan commission, said he supports the idea of police officers wearing cameras on private property. He also believes civilians should be able to make video or audio recordings of officers performing their duties.

His only reservation concerned police cameras on private property.

Norton, 25, who identified himself professionally as a "freelance blogger," said police should use cameras to protect themselves from lawsuits. He also thinks people should have the right to record officers.

In both cases, however, Norton believes in some limitations on recordings made on private property. Informed consent of the property owner should first be obtained, he said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"As long as the officer says, 'Hey, I'm recording this,' then he has the right to record it," Norton said.

Roscoe, 50, a Mundelein firefighter and an electrician, said he "wholeheartedly" supports the use of body cameras. He called them "an invaluable tool."

As for civilians, Roscoe said governments can't effectively control what people do with their mobile phones or other cameras.

Russell, 60, who works in sales, said police officers and civilians should be allowed to videotape interactions. He had no qualms about the difference between public and private property.

"When an officer is doing his job and enters private property with cause, then both parties have the right to put that on video," Russell said. "Personally, it makes me think twice about the things I do in life."

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