Law enforcement respond to body camera warrant

DURAND, Ill. (WTVO) — Rockton police officers may soon be adding body cameras to their gear checklist.

Village administrators considered a deal Tuesday night. The field trial would be with Axon Enterprises. Several local departments, including Rockford, also have agreements with the company.

Illinois lawmakers passed police reforms early last year. One of those reforms requires all police departments to be equipped with cameras by 2025. Smaller communities across the state have since expressed concerns about the cost.

Durand Police Chief Jeff Schelling initially had concerns last year about being able to fulfill the warrant, but many of those concerns have been resolved.

“We want to be on this platform as soon as possible, but again we don’t know how are we going to do that,” Schelling said.

That was the message Schelling had a year ago. He said at the time that it would be nearly impossible to find the money to equip his officers with body cameras and other training, mandated by Illinois’ criminal justice reform bill.

Now, Schelling said some of the changes to the legislation have eased the financial burden on smaller agencies like his.

“The trailer invoices are out. The first helped put things in order, the second did a bit more, and now we’re hearing about a third,” Schelling said. “These tracking invoices help us better understand where we need to be, what exactly they’re looking for, and when those warrants will start coming in.”

While the bill still calls for officers statewide to be equipped with body cameras by 2025, the schedule for other required training has been pushed back. Schelling said he now has time to properly budget for the changes.

“My intention is to come out, as other departments have, with three of the powerful vendors that have been used by many departments in this county and outside the county, and start the conversation, start to build that initial plan,” Schelling said. . “We feel comfortable at this point with what’s recommended and the mandates that are there, and I think going forward, myself as a leader, I have to watch that closely to make sure that we have this funding.”

Another positive for agencies looking to add cameras is that the cost of the technology is dropping slightly, according to Schelling.

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