ROCKFORD (WTVO) – Rockford aldermen consider approving a grant to buy more dash cameras for police. The grant could help the department reach its goal of having more than 120 cameras on the road by the end of the year. Chief O’Shea has been working to get dash cams in every police car since taking over in 2016. Right now 82 cars have them and after the grant approval on Monday, the Rockford Police Department is one step closer to reaching that goal.
“I’m very excited by the end of the year we’ll have everyone one of the marked cars out there with an in car camera.”, said Rockford Police Chief, Dan O’Shea.
Rockford City Council called a special council meeting to approve a $250,000 state grant to put dash cams in every squad, and unmarked car in the Rockford Police Department. More than 80 cars are already equipped with the technology and Chief Dan O’Shea says they’ve already proved their worth.
“Most beneficial obviously for traffic stops, or going to crashes, or going to calls. As I said it’s helped us, we’ve actually captured suspect vehicles leaving some scenes.”, Chief O’Shea said.
City leaders say the technology are a big help, but warn the cameras don’t solve every problem.
“Remember the camera has to be pointed in the right direction. The camera doesn’t see through cars. It doesn’t see everything.” 1st Ward Alderman, Tim Durkee explained. Chief O’Shea added, “recordings are two dimensional, they only capture parts of incidents, a lot of things happen off camera.”
When an officer turns on their lights the cameras will save the previous minute, and continue to record until the officer turns it off. Chief O’Shea says the recordings can help keep officers safe and provide answers, like in the case of fallen Officer Jaimie Cox.
“Obviously that incident we really wish we had a camera.” Chief O’Shea said. He continued, “for the officers it actually provides a means of protection against wrongful complaints. It provides us the opportunity to correct any training issue we might come across with an officer. Sergeants are required to randomly spot check videos once a month.”
City council voted unanimously to approve the grant.