PROBLEMThe problem exists thatcomplaints and liability issues against the police can occur at any time. Thegeneral public can allege misconduct by an officer although no wrongdoing mayhave occurred. Complaints are sometimes filed with Metra Police command staffinvolving alleged misconduct by police officers. In-car video cameras are notcurrently in place, but even if they were, they unfortunately do not captureall contact with the public. Body Worn Cameras (alsoknown 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 grantsso the current police budget would not be harmed.
Research shows the presenceof such cameras often improve the performance of officers and the conduct ofthe community members who are recorded when they know the officer has a camera.Recent incidents in themedia involving police officers’ use of force complaints from around thecountry have had the department wanting to obtain BWC’s both for the safety ofthe public and the police officers’. The agency wants to purchase BWC’s to helpreduce liability involving use of force issues, misconduct complaints and legalproblems. BWC’s can help exonerate an officer from any wrong doing or help confirma complaint made by a citizen and lessen legal issues with the public. This technologyseems to be the future in law enforcement. ASSUMPTIONS· TheMetra Police Department’s call volume is expected to continue to increase.· Withincreasing call volume and more public contacts, complaints against officersare also likely to increase.
· Crimerates are expected to increase based on department statistical reports andpopulation within our jurisdiction is increasing as well.· Departmentshift coverage will likely continue with six officers and two command staff pershift.· BWC’scan act as an extra set of eyes when an officer is outnumbered at a scene.
· BWC’swill help hold those accountable to obey the law.· Thepresence of the cameras may help decrease complaints against officers.· BWC’sare likely to help not only with complaints against police, but be used asevidence in court proceedings as well. · Theemergence of BWC’s is expected to decrease use of force issues, publiccomplaints and lawsuits against officers for alleged wrongdoing.· Withincreased amounts of terrorism, BWC’s may help identify potential acts andidentify suspects.· Thistechnology is expected to increase in the law enforcement community nationwide.
FACTS · TheMetra Police Department currently has approximately 125 full time swornpersonnel including 3 Detectives (who work random shifts). (Annex A)· Thedepartments shift minimum is approximately 6 officers per shift, with at least2 supervisors on duty. (Annex F)· Aminimum of one hundred forty (140) Body Worn Cameras (BWC’s) would need to bepurchased to start the program. This would equip all sworn members of theagency and the system will become a part of their standard issued equipment.
· Swornpersonnel would be assigned a BWC at the start of their shift and would berequired to turn it in and the end of their shift. The option of purchasingextra units will also allow extra BWC’s available in case of equipment failure.· Fundsto purchase BWC’s for the program can be obtained via federal grants or usedfrom the departments Drug Seizure fund to start the program. (Annex B) · Misconductallegations and complaints against Metra Police officers have risen 10% in 2017compared to 2016. (Annex C) · AStandard Operating Procedure (SOP) has already been created for the use andoperation of BWC’s, which includes the current Illinois Eavesdropping statute,data storage timelines, evidentiary use and training guidelines (Annex D).· Inaddition to the SOP, a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request guideline wasalso implemented for records personnel pertaining to BWC’s (Annex D).· Officerswill 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 trainingsupervisor. (Annex D).· Totalcost to purchase one hundred forty (140) VieVu LE3 brand BWC’s comes to a costof approximately $27,860 from the company ($199 x 140 = $27,860).
The itemincludes an extra battery for each unit and a docking station. The unit comeswith a 60 GB memory card which can be downloaded to appropriate software tosave video data. The camera will have approximately 5 hours of continuousrunning time, if needed and approximately 12 hour intermittent battery life.
(Annex E).· Uponpurchase and after training, all uniformed patrol personnel and detectives willbe issued and equipped with a BWC. (Annex D).· Softwarefor downloading can be used via Microsoft’s Azure Cloud network or similarinternet data storage to save additional monies. (Annex D).