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Monday, June 1, 2015

Police Body Camera Bill Goes to Illinois Governor

Police-involved shootings have been a frequent subject of the news lately, leading some states to consider legislation to encourage an increased use in police body cameras.  Illinois is no exception. Just last week, the Illinois Senate approved House amendments to SB 1304, which establishes the "Law Enforcement Officer-Worn Body Camera Act." 

The bill does not mandate that police departments require their officers to wear body cameras, but it does establish certain guidelines for their use and requires local police departments to adopt policies consistent with those statutory guidelines.  A few of these guidelines are summarized below:

1.  The cameras must be capable of recording at least the 30 seconds prior to camera activation.

2.  The camera must be capable of recording for at least 10 hours.

3.  The camera must be turned on at all times when the officer is in uniform and is responding to calls or engaged in any law enforcement-related encounter or activity that occurs while the officer is on-duty.  This requirement contains a number of exceptions to protect witness confidentiality, etc.

4.  The camera must be turned off when the officer is engaged in community caretaking functions.

5.  The officer must notify a person of the recording if that person has a reasonable expectation of privacy.

6. Access to recordings is restricted, although they might be subject to release under FOIA in limited circumstances.

7.  Recordings must be retained for 90 days.

8. Recordings cannot be used in officer disciplinary proceedings except in certain limited circumstances.

Now that the bill has received approval by both houses, it has gone to the Governor.  You can read the bill here.

Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf


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