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PROBLEM

The problem exists that
complaints and liability issues against the police can occur at any time. The
general public can allege misconduct by an officer although no wrongdoing may
have occurred. Complaints are sometimes filed with Metra Police command staff
involving alleged misconduct by police officers. In-car video cameras are not
currently in place, but even if they were, they unfortunately do not capture
all contact with the public.

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Body Worn Cameras (also
known as BWC’s) are a solution. BWC’s would be issued to all full time officers,
and to help reduce additional cost to the department, we would look into grants
so the current police budget would not be harmed. Research shows the presence
of such cameras often improve the performance of officers and the conduct of
the community members who are recorded when they know the officer has a camera.

Recent incidents in the
media involving police officers’ use of force complaints from around the
country have had the department wanting to obtain BWC’s both for the safety of
the public and the police officers’. The agency wants to purchase BWC’s to help
reduce liability involving use of force issues, misconduct complaints and legal
problems. BWC’s can help exonerate an officer from any wrong doing or help confirm
a complaint made by a citizen and lessen legal issues with the public. This technology
seems to be the future in law enforcement.

 

ASSUMPTIONS

·       The
Metra Police Department’s call volume is expected to continue to increase.

·       With
increasing call volume and more public contacts, complaints against officers
are also likely to increase.

·       Crime
rates are expected to increase based on department statistical reports and
population within our jurisdiction is increasing as well.

·       Department
shift coverage will likely continue with six officers and two command staff per
shift.

·       BWC’s
can act as an extra set of eyes when an officer is outnumbered at a scene.

·       BWC’s
will help hold those accountable to obey the law.

·       The
presence of the cameras may help decrease complaints against officers.

·       BWC’s
are likely to help not only with complaints against police, but be used as
evidence in court proceedings as well.    

·       The
emergence of BWC’s is expected to decrease use of force issues, public
complaints and lawsuits against officers for alleged wrongdoing.

·       With
increased amounts of terrorism, BWC’s may help identify potential acts and
identify suspects.

·       This
technology is expected to increase in the law enforcement community nationwide.

 

FACTS

·       The
Metra Police Department currently has approximately 125 full time sworn
personnel including 3 Detectives (who work random shifts). (Annex A)

·       The
departments shift minimum is approximately 6 officers per shift, with at least
2 supervisors on duty. (Annex F)

·       A
minimum of one hundred forty (140) Body Worn Cameras (BWC’s) would need to be
purchased to start the program. This would equip all sworn members of the
agency and the system will become a part of their standard issued equipment.

·       Sworn
personnel would be assigned a BWC at the start of their shift and would be
required to turn it in and the end of their shift. The option of purchasing
extra units will also allow extra BWC’s available in case of equipment failure.

·       Funds
to purchase BWC’s for the program can be obtained via federal grants or used
from the departments Drug Seizure fund to start the program. (Annex B)

·       Misconduct
allegations and complaints against Metra Police officers have risen 10% in 2017
compared to 2016. (Annex C)

·       A
Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) has already been created for the use and
operation of BWC’s, which includes the current Illinois Eavesdropping statute,
data storage timelines, evidentiary use and training guidelines (Annex D).

·       In
addition to the SOP, a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request guideline was
also implemented for records personnel pertaining to BWC’s (Annex D).

·       Officers
will be trained in the use of BWC’s and the new policy, upon deployment.
Refresher training will be completed once a year and assigned by the training
supervisor. (Annex D).

·       Total
cost to purchase one hundred forty (140) VieVu LE3 brand BWC’s comes to a cost
of approximately $27,860 from the company ($199 x 140 = $27,860). The item
includes an extra battery for each unit and a docking station. The unit comes
with a 60 GB memory card which can be downloaded to appropriate software to
save video data. The camera will have approximately 5 hours of continuous
running time, if needed and approximately 12 hour intermittent battery life.
(Annex E).

·       Upon
purchase and after training, all uniformed patrol personnel and detectives will
be issued and equipped with a BWC. (Annex D).

·       Software
for downloading can be used via Microsoft’s Azure Cloud network or similar
internet data storage to save additional monies. (Annex D).

 

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