U of I police to buy 65 body cameras

U of I police to buy 65 body cameras (WICS)

The University of Illinois police said they are ready to buy body cameras.

After spending more than a year testing out the body cameras, the department said the cameras will help the officers and the campus community.

“The technology is there to record things with good audio and good video so it's just a natural progression,” Deputy Chief Matt Myrick said. “And I think there's always this desire to be as transparent as possible."

The department plans to buy 65 cameras.

"I think it’s a good idea because that way they can track more activity around campus,” U of I student, Lavani Nair said.

The cameras will come from the vendor WatchGuard, U of I police said along with the body cameras they also plan to buy new cameras for interview rooms and squad cars.

“One of our goals was to simplify our video recording into one type of system to make it easier to manage the data,” Myrick said. “It’ll be easier for the officers to know how to review their video and how to classify their video and easier for us to present that video to the State's Attorney Office.”

Myrick said they do not know exactly how much the cameras will cost yet, but he estimates it will be between $200,000 to $300,000 paid for by the university.

“I think it's reasonable, but like at the same time we don't hear about that much crime around here versus like bigger cities so it's like do they really need them?" U of I student, Neil Patel said.

State law requires body camera recordings to be stored for at least 90 days.

"I think the officers realize there's value in recording an entire incident instead of just a few seconds or a minute,” Myrick said. “Let's see it from the first minute we knew about this incident until something went wrong, there was an encounter, there was an officer use of force or the officer did something great and body cameras are one way to tell that story.”

U of I police said they plan to make the purchase sometime in the new year.

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