Police body cameras could cost Buffalo Grove $300,000, chief says
Buffalo Grove Police Chief Steven Casstevens told the village board Monday that the body camera mandate in the state's criminal justice reform bill will cost the village at least $300,000.
Among its many provisions, the legislation requires every law enforcement agency in the state to equip its officers with body cameras. Buffalo Grove must have them for sworn officers by Jan. 1, 2025.
Casstevens said he strongly supports body cameras but called the law an unfunded mandate. Police agencies will be scrambling for money to pay for the cameras, with limited funds available through the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board. The most the village could expect from the agency is $24,000, he added.
Early estimates are that it would cost the village just under $300,000 for 60 body cameras, which would have to be replaced after 2½ years.
That $300,000 figure doesn't include personnel costs associated with responding to public information requests, which would require searching for videos in a cloud database and redacting portions that cannot be made public.
But Casstevens said the biggest problem with the reform bill is that it bars an officer from reviewing bodycam videos prior to writing a police report about an incident.
"(It) makes no sense to me. Anybody who has watched an NFL game knows that there are 17 different cameras that they play back in slow motion 12 times before they can decide if it was really a touchdown or not," he said.
An officer could be charged with a crime for filing an inaccurate report, Casstevens noted.
"It stands to reason that the report might be inaccurate if the author is not allowed to view the video before then," he said.
The bill also makes it possible for an officer to face a felony charge for failing to turn on a body camera when required.
Casstevens said police agencies and the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police are working on what's known as a trailer bill to address some of law enforcement's concerns with the legislation.
Village Manager Dane Bragg said the village has been in communication with local legislators about its concerns.