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State Troopers' Tasers To Be Equipped With Cameras

Illinois State Troopers will soon have an extra set of eyes with them in the field - even if they're alone.

Illinois State Troopers will soon have an extra set of eyes with them in the field - even if they're alone.

All State Troopers will soon carry tasers equipped with video cameras.  Eyewitness News Reporter Ashley Michels has more.

"It's a great tool for law enforcement" says Brad Wheeler, a supporter for the new initiative.  That's because in just five seconds a taser can make a heated situation a lot more calm and now the Illinois State Police is jumping on board.  Soon, every trooper will be equipped with one and every second it's used will be caught on tape.  "I think it's good on both sides for the police officer and the victim."

State Police say the high-tech tasers are mostly a safety measure since many times troopers can be in rural areas without backup, which can cause problems.  "The court is going to be able to see right on that film exactly what happened" says Roger Everett, another supporter."

The Sangamon County Sheriff's Office agrees.  "Having av video tape of this event may very well help law enforcement just like dash cams" says Jack Campbell, a Sangamon Co. Under Sheriff.

But, Campbell warns they're not the perfect solution.  "The problem is the camera does not activate until the safety is taken off.  The camera will not tell the whole story.  It may look worse than what it is because you don't know what happened prior to that event."

The tasers also come with a hefty price tag.  The state is spending about $1.4 million on them, but taxpayers think it's a fair price to pay for safety.  But, considering the state's finances, now isn't the right time. 

"There's nothing that says they have to have these right now" says Wheeler.  "It's great if they want to investigate it, but I don't think they need to roll it out to everybody right now."

Before the new tasers become standard issue, every trooper has to go through extensive training.  State Police tell us they should be in full swing by the new year.

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