Citing the political climate and need to protect officers and citizens alike, Mount Prospect officials are expediting their purchase of body cameras for its police department.
Village trustees on Tuesday approved spending up to $179,000 for the WatchGuard body camera system, a purchase that originally wasn’t planned until next year.
“Certainly with everything that’s going on in the world today, this is an important item for our police department,” Trustee Richard Rogers said. “It’s important for us to protect our own police as well as to protect the citizenry when an incident occurs.”
Police Chief John Koziol said the department expects to receive the 85 body cameras and supporting hardware in about 6 to 8 weeks, but did not indicate when they might be deployed.
“We’re doing everything we can to fully train our officers and ensure that these are used to really benefit all involved, the general public, potential victims, potential perpetrators, and the officers themselves,” Mayor Arlene Juracek said.
Earlier this year, the police department purchased dashboard cameras from WatchGuard. The new body camera system will seamlessly integrate with the car cameras and capture events from multiple vantage points, officials said.
Koziol said the body camera contract includes a three-year no-fault warranty and one year of unlimited cloud storage. There will be an ongoing annual cost of $41,000 for future cloud storage.
“WatchGuard was head and shoulders above the others we looked at,” he said.
The village hopes to receive state grant funding to cover the cost of the cameras and hardware, although it won’t cover the $41,000 storage costs.
“With what’s going on politically and everything, I can’t believe that there won’t be another grant available in Illinois,” he added.
Koziol said state statute will largely dictate how the cameras will be used and how the footage they record is stored.
“Any complaint, any arrest, any citation, those things are kept for two years,” he said. “The statute’s pretty firm on what to get rid of and what to keep.”