Bloomington Police Department Delays Body Camera Rollout

Oct 11, 2017
Originally published on October 11, 2017 12:17 pm

The Bloomington Police Department’s plans of equipping its officers with body cameras has lost a bit of momentum.

BPD Chief Brendan Heffner said two different units from a vendor failed to meet his standards after a trial run dating back to January.

“It did not meet our standards,” Heffner said. “I’m glad we didn’t just rush out and buy some. I want to make sure the citizens of Bloomington know that we have the best cameras that we feel work for our officers and for them.”

Police departments nationwide have pursued body cameras as officer-involved shootings of citizens have made headlines and even lead to criminal charges against cops.

Peoria is also moving forward with body cameras. Police Chief Jerry Mitchell said 140 officers are set to be equipped with the technology by March after receiving a $253,000 grant from the U.S. Justice Department, the Peoria Journal-Star reported this week.

During Monday's Bloomington City Council meeting, City Manager David Hales cited poor battery life and power issues as the main concerns with his city's test run.

“I think as we continue to watch nationwide, we find some of the problems that occur when body cameras are not turning on or don’t have the battery,” Hales said. “It is definitely a technology that continues to evolve.”

Heffner said the department plans to move forward with another body camera vendor later this month or in November.

“Technology doesn’t work at times but there is also a failure rate we aren’t going to accept,” Heffner said. “I’m hoping this new vendor that we are testing works out well so we can obtain them and get them out there.”

Hales says this delay pushes the rollout of these devices into 2018. Eventually all Bloomington patrol officers will be equipped with the cameras.

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