City officials considering body cameras for police officers

By Nick Kovatch on November 7 at 7:28am

Jacksonville leaders will learn more about body cameras for police officers tonight.

A presentation by Digital Ally representative Jim Hendrickson is scheduled during today’s Public Protection Committee meeting. Alderman Adonnis Shaw brought up the topic at last month’s meeting. He believes body cameras would help prevent excessive force lawsuits and keep officers accountable.

Police chief Tony Grootens told our reporting partners at WICS ABC Newschannel 20 he believes there are many other unforeseen benefits to the cameras, but state law needs to catch up with technology before he gets on board 100 percent.

“Illinois is a two-party consent state,” Grootens says. “In other words, it takes you and me to give permission to each other to record–audio record–a conversation.”

Grootens says currently the only exception to that law is during traffic stops. When an officer approaches your car, video is being recorded in the car, and audio is recorded through a mic on the officer’s uniform.

Also at today’s Public Protection Committee meeting, committee members will review their findings concerning the proposal that would make possession of less than 2.5 grams of marijuana an ordinance violation instead of a criminal offense.

Today’s meeting starts at 4:30 in the Commission Room of the Municipal Building at 200 West Douglas.