Round Lake Park police halt body cameras that recorded officers in restrooms
The Round Lake Park Police Department has suspended the use of police body cameras after the devices were found to be recording when they weren't supposed to.
Round Lake Park Police Chief George Filenko said the department learned on Saturday the body cameras obtained through Watch Guard Systems were not recording in conjunction with protocols.
He said the body cameras were designed to record for 30 seconds after the officer manually activated the camera, but the cameras were recording video at all times, even when it was believed the cameras were turned off.
"I've never seen any of the footage and we locked the system down, but from what I've been told, the videos captured officers in the locker room and using the facilities," Filenko said. "When we found about it, we shut the cameras down and took the devices completely out of service."
He said the department has also called in an independent investigator and legal counsel to review what happened, and the police department has spoken with "every officer about the issue."
"We have explained to them that we are very upset that this happened," he said. "It's inappropriate and obtrusive, and we didn't ask for the cameras to keep recording."
He said the police department is working with Watch Guard Systems to find a solution.
"At this point, we're not going to implement the cameras until it goes through rigorous testing and cameras are working appropriately," he said.
Round Lake Park police began using body cameras in August in an effort to increase transparency between the police department and the residents, Filenko said.
He added the program has been a success in not only assisting officers but also in defusing potential situations with people recorded.
"While the body-worn camera system is an extremely valuable tool, this circumstance is very concerning," he said.