The Peoria Police Department will begin a pilot program to evaluate the use of body cameras on officers. Three officers on different shifts will use the cameras beginning March 20.
Project manager Denise Backes told Peoria City Council on Tues. that other cities using cameras have seen increased officer performance among other benefits.
“They’ve been used to identify and correct internal agency problems and also to help with evidence documentation that prosecutors can use in the courtroom,” Backes said. “And we’ve also seen a big reduction in officer complaints following body-worn camera implementation.”
The cameras will record both video and audio. The law requires the officer to turn off the camera under certain circumstances, such as when victims request they not be on camera.
The city has applied for a grant to help cover the expense of the cameras for the first two years. If approved, the grant will reduce the cost of the program to $157,000 over a two year period. If the pilot proves successful, it will be another year before all officers will wear body cameras in Peoria.
Public Discussion on Body Cameras:
Before the pilot launches, the PPD is hosting a community forum on the subject. The event includes a short presentation before it is opened for questions. The event is Thurs. March 16 at 6pm in the Peoria Police Department Community Training Room. Because space is limited, those wanting to attend are asked to RSVP to Jennifer Schroer by calling (309) 494-8250 or emailing email@example.com.