Libertyville approves purchase of body cameras for police

Libertyville police will be outfitting officers with body-worn cameras about two years in advance of a state requirement to do so.

"Our goal would be to roll this out in the last quarter of 2022 or at the very latest the first quarter of 2023," said Police Chief Ed Roncone.

That's well before the Jan. 1, 2025, deadline required under the Safety, Accountability, Fairness and Equity - Today Act, a criminal justice reform bill signed into law in early 2021.

Among its provisions, SAFE-T requires the use of body cameras by police statewide. The deadline to implement the practice is defined by the size of the department.

Libertyville had been working on a program to allow time for personnel to train and become familiar with the use of the equipment, video data storage, and processing video through the subpoena process and/or requests made under the Freedom of Information Act.

With that, police sought a proposal from Arizona-based Axon Enterprises Inc., which provides the department's in-car cameras.

The result was a five-year purchase agreement in which the village receives all the equipment up front and will pay $381,091 or $76,818 per year for a total of $381,091.

The village's advisory fire and police committee on July 19 unanimously voted in favor of the agreement and the village board last week authorized the expenditure to outfit 43 police personnel.

According to information provided to the board, Axon's body cameras and in-car cameras can work together. The body cameras will respond to the same triggers and activate when the emergency lights or sirens are turned on, a Taser is activated, or an officer unholsters a sidearm, for example. Both systems also can be manually activated.

And because both Axon camera systems use the same evidence management platform, it will become significantly easier to transfer data, according to Roncone.

He told the board the department wanted to act sooner rather than later given supply chain issues and to take advantage of current pricing.

"I like the integration between the vehicles and the (body) cameras," said Trustee Pete Garrity. "I think it all makes sense and do appreciate getting out ahead of the curve and moving ahead on an expedited basis."

Mundelein, which five years ago was among the first in Illinois to deploy body cameras, is buying 56 new ones. Body cameras also are used by the Lake County sheriff's office and several municipal departments including Waukegan, Gurnee and Vernon Hills.

Antioch in late 2020 funded bodycams. All officers have them and all marked police cars have forward-facing dash cameras and internal rear passenger compartment cameras.

"The protection of body cameras allows peace of mind for the officers by offering an independent view of officer's interactions with the public, plus the cameras provide reassurance of transparency for our residents,"said Antioch police Chief Geoff Guttschow

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