The Lake in the Hills Village Board of Trustees on Thursday authorized an agreement to purchase a video storage server and 20 body-worn camera systems for its police department.
The decision, made unanimously, comes on the heels of Gov. JB Pritzker signing into law a bill that mandated body cameras for all police departments by 2025, with some departments required to make the purchase sooner due to their size.
Chief of Police Dave Brey said an amendment to the law is needed before the police department will take further steps to buy body-worn camera systems. Lake in the Hills, with fewer than 30,000 residents, is among the departments that don’t have to meet the requirement until 2025.
“We told them we have the intent to the buy the body cameras this year,” Brey said. “Part of the reason we might delay the implementation of the body cameras is the police reform legislation has some language in it that is kind of hard to work with and find support for.”
One of the components of House Bill 3653, passed during the Illinois General Assembly’s lame-duck session and signed into law by Pritzker in February, prevents police officers from reviewing the footage that is captured on the body camera before writing a report.
But another component of the law could see police officers facing felony charges in the event a report is not accurately described.
Lawmakers are working to amend language in the legislation that prohibits officers from reviewing footage before they compile their reports, but that change has not happened yet and the purchase tentatively OK’d last week won’t take effect unless it does.
The body-worn camera systems are needed, Brey said, based on “everything that’s going on here, the interactions between officers and the public here.”
Lake in the Hills currently doesn’t equip its officers with body cameras, officials said.
The village, however, decided to outfit all the squad cars with new cameras last year.
Brey said the purchase of body camera systems is meant to enhance that equipment.
Under the village’s purchasing policy, Village Board approval is needed for any contracts valued over $25,000.
The agreement to purchase body camera systems was approved unanimously by the Village Board. Lake in the Hills is looking at paying $55,779 to make it possible.
Officials intend to use the police portion of the village’s annual budget to pay for the body camera systems, unless grant funding becomes available.
Brey did not rule out the possibility of landing assistance to help pay for the equipment.