Elk Grove Village police to get body cameras by summer of 2022
Elk Grove Village is the latest suburb to announce its police officers soon will be equipped with body cameras -- a growing trend expected to be accelerated by recent state legislation.
The cameras, set to be deployed by the summer of 2022, would be worn by all 73 uniformed police officers assigned to street patrol duties, according to Police Chief Chuck Walsh.
A sweeping criminal justice bill approved by Springfield lawmakers last month requires every department in the state to provide its officers with body-worn cameras by 2025. The bill is awaiting Gov. J.B. Pritzker's signature.
Walsh said he's been researching the issue for the past two years and had planned to add cameras to his department after examining other towns' best practices on policies and procedures.
Elk Grove is also wrapping up a major computer and phone replacement project at village hall that's been ongoing the last two years. The camera initiative is the next step in the department's five-year capital budget plan, Walsh said.
Mayor Craig Johnson said the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last summer also brought the police camera issue to the forefront.
"The police embrace it -- they have no problem having body cameras whatsoever," Johnson said Tuesday. "At least in our department, our guys do things right, and the cameras back them up.
"We're not going to wait until 2025," the mayor added. "We have faith in our guys. To me, it's a benefit to the officer, because people don't always embrace the truth in dealing with police, and the cameras give us a chance to see what's going on."
On the other side, the cameras can help root out police misconduct, Johnson said.
"If there is a bad one, we'll catch 'em. It goes both ways," he said.
The cameras are expected to cost $100,000 initially to lease and have cloud storage, with ongoing maintenance, Walsh said. The police department could use asset seizure funds to help fund some of the costs, while officials also research federal and state grants.
The chief said he's trying to obtain cameras with automatic features, so officers don't have to worry if a camera is working during critical incidents. Cameras wouldn't be on for an entire 8- to 12-hour shift, such as when officers are dealing with noncriminal issues, Walsh said.
Officials are also researching exactly where on the uniform a camera would be placed, so as to provide the best view of a situation and be noticeable to all so they know they're being recorded, he said.
Wheeling, Mount Prospect, Antioch, Bloomingdale and Batavia police departments are among the other suburban agencies that have purchased body cameras for officers in recent months.