July , 2018

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SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois State Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth (D-Peoria) and State Sen. Bill Haine (D-Alton) announced on Thursday that they would work for passage of legislation to bolster a program that provides grants to local police departments to install video recording equipment in police vehicles and expand it to include body cameras for officers. Representatives from Illinois law enforcement and civil rights organizations joined Gordon and Haine in support of their measure.

“This is an issue I have been working on for several months with the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board, and I hope that the tragic recent events in Ferguson, which have brought the value of officer and vehicle-mounted cameras to national attention, may serve as a catalyst to enact legislation that protects our brave police officers as much as it does the general public,” said Gordon-Booth.

“Every day, the courageous men and women of Illinois law enforcement put their lives on the line to protect us,” said Haine, who previously served for 14 years as the Madison County State’s Attorney. “Cameras like these help prosecute crimes, protect civil liberties and – ultimately – help save officers’ lives.”

The measure, House Bill 3911, would allow police departments to apply for grants to purchase either body-mounted or dashboard cameras for use in vehicles. The grants will be funded by the imposition of an additional $6 surcharge on those who are convicted or plead guilty to criminal or traffic offenses – $3 of which will be used for camera grants and $3 to be used to support the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board (ILETSB), the agency that trains all 40,000 local police officers in the state and receives no general revenue funding.

Departments receiving grants are required to report back to the ILETSB on their experience with the cameras, including detailed information on the outcome of cases where video recordings were used. ILETSB intends to collaborate with the Police Training Institute at the University of Illinois on using the camera data to refine the board’s training curriculum and study the experience of officers in the field with the devices.

“This legislation offers a win-win opportunity for the people of Illinois and the law enforcement community,” said Rick Watson, ILETSB Chairman and St. Clair County Sheriff. “We can provide critically needed revenue to support training and continuing education courses for police and sheriff’s officers while employing cutting-edge technology that will increase Illinoisans’ confidence in the integrity and professionalism of public safety personnel.”

In 2012-2013, the Police Foundation, an independent, nonpartisan, non-profit organization that works to improve American policing, conducted a randomized, controlled trial with the Rialto, Calif., police department, which equipped its officers with cameras. During that time, the officers’ use of force fell 60% and citizen complaints against police dropped by 88%. The Wall Street Journal, citing other research, noted that the amount of time to investigate police shootings, in some cases, has been reduced from up to three months to as few as two days. A copy of the Police Foundation study is available at: www.policefoundation.org/content/body-worn-camera

The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus also has indicated its support for the bill and will back its passage this fall.

Additional Statements from Press Conference Participants on House Bill 3911

George P. Mitchell, President, NAACP Illinois State Conference:

“The NAACP Illinois State Conference supports the use of video and audio surveillance equipment to document police and citizen encounters, especially in traffic stops where African Americans are targeted and detained at rates higher than represented in the population. Frequently, there is a conflict between incident reports, evidence and witness accounts. The use of cameras serves as a layer of transparency to document disputed encounters between law enforcement and citizens. The recent upheaval in Missouri and the use of force situations in California and New York support the use of recording devices as evidence for the public. In addition, the ‘body cam’ pilot program in California demonstrated a reduction in the use of force and citizen complaints. The use of ‘dash cams’ and ‘body cams’ documents behaviors of law enforcement and citizens.”

Brian Towne, President, Illinois State’s Attorneys Association:

“This provides a valuable new resource for prosecutors to assist us in our evidentiary review and charging decision. It helps ensure that we fulfill our primary responsibility of seeking justice.”

Greg Sullivan, Executive Director, Illinois Sheriffs’ Association:

“Law Enforcement has not always readily embraced new technology and more oversight. But in this instance the facts are clear. Body cameras reduce citizen complaints and alleged use of force. A 12-month study in Rialto, Calif., showed an 88% decline in citizen complaints and a 60% reduction in use-of-force instances. Everyone behaves better when they know that they are being recorded.”

Mike Schlosser, Director, Police Training Institute at the University of Illinois:

“Squad car and body cameras benefit law enforcement in many ways. The camera is a tool that not only protects officers against unjust or inaccurate accusations, it is a tool to protect citizens, ensuring Fourth Amendment compliance by police.”

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