Naperville Police begin practice using body cameras that record audio and video of every active call – Chicago Tribune

Some Naperville officers will sport new body-worn cameras as early as Tuesday, according to the police chief.

Chief Jason Arres said the equipment needed to outfit the department’s 177 sworn officers has arrived and camera maker Axon will be on site next week for technical setup and instruction to 20 officers, who will then train their colleagues using new devices. .

“Right after they get that training and they go out — whether it’s in their beats, as detectives, or whatever work they do here at the department — they’ll have the cameras on them,” Arres said.

Training sessions for the rest of the department begin May 31, with the goal of having the entire department, including the chief and deputy chiefs, fully equipped by the end of June.

Body-mounted cameras are easy to use, the chief said.

“I’ve actually done a traffic stop before with my body-worn camera video without extensive training. That’s how simple these things are to use. I mean they really are,” did he declare.

Cameras can be attached to an officer’s vest or belt, or stuck to a shirt using a magnet.

The only stipulation, he said, is that it be worn over the outermost garment, such as a jacket in inclement weather.

The camera actively captures both audio and video when an officer double taps the camera or activates a squad’s sirens and lights.

“It’s really when we take action or tackle a traffic violation or any type of police work, that would be when the cameras are on,” he said.

Enabling audio and video places a protective shield or fence at the start and end of the video which is retained and downloaded when docked to the charging station, Arres said.

The public should be aware, he said, that when they see an officer they are likely to be recorded, but without audio.

When an officer is performing administrative duties, at a community meeting, or having a cup of coffee or lunch, the camera constantly captures only 720p video, the chief said. These recordings are looped and overwritten every 18 hours.

“If I don’t connect my camera and work continuously, say, 24 hours straight, that circle overwrites everything except this video surrounded by a protective fence,” he said.

The camera can be turned off, he said, if an officer enters a private space, such as a restroom or the department locker room.

Beyond using camera footage to build cases, the video will be used for training purposes to ensure officers are following best practices and to keep the public in check, Arres said.

The ministry has the ability to look at what it is doing well and what it can do better, he said.

Additionally, citizens can be more restrained knowing the camera is capturing their words and actions, Arres said.

Another feature of the camera is the ability for supervisors or the dispatch center to live stream any body-worn camera in specific circumstances, Arres said, such as critical incidents where an officer needs help. assists or when an officer on appeal fails to respond to status checks.

“It’s like a guardian angel,” he says. “We can be guardian angels for each other.”

City policies governing the use of cameras and the images they capture are heavily based on criminal justice reforms Illinois passed last year.

“The law is a great engine. Illinois law dictates how and when we will record, how we will view,” Arres said.

The Naperville City Council has authorized the purchase of body-worn and dash cams from Axon Enterprise for $2.26 million. The cost will be paid over five years, with $483,228 disbursed in the first year and $443,602 annually for the remaining four years.

In return, the city will have the latest models of equipment on the market.

While the body cameras were in stock, supply chain issues are delaying the arrival of the 50 dash cameras for patrol vehicles that work in tandem with the body cameras, Arres said.

Although he’s been told to expect dash cams in late 2022, he remains optimistic it could be sooner as the nearby Aurora Police Department is getting their cameras sooner than expected, he said. declared.

To help residents and businesses, Naperville Police will launch a series of online videos in the coming weeks to showcase their new body-worn camera system.

In addition, a list of frequently asked questions will be posted on the City’s website.

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