DURAND, Ill. (WTVO) — Rockton police officers could soon be adding body cameras to their equipment checklist.
Village trustees considered a deal on Tuesday evening. The field trial would be with Axon Enterprises. Several local departments, including Rockford, also have deals with the company.
Illinois lawmakers passed policing reforms early last year. One of those reforms requires all police departments to be fitted with the cameras by 2025. Smaller communities around the state have since raised concerns about the cost.
Durand Police Chief Jeff Schelling was initially worried last year about being able to meet the mandate, but many of those concerns have been addressed.
“We want to be on that platform as soon as possible, but again, we’re strapped with how are we going to do this,” Schelling said.
That was the message that Schelling had one year ago. He said at the time that finding he cash to outfit his officers with body cameras and other training, mandated by the Illinois Criminal Justice Reform Bill, would be near impossible.
Now, Schelling said that some of the changes made to the legislation have eased the financial burden for small agencies like his.
“The trailer bills came out. The first one helped put things in order, the second one did a little bit more, and now we’re hearing of a third,” Schelling said. “Those trailer bills are helping us better understand where we need to be, what exactly they’re looking for, and when these mandates are going to start to come in.”
While the bill still calls for officers across the state to be outfitted with body cameras by 2025, the timeline for other required training has been pushed back. Schelling said that he now has time to properly budget for the changes.
“My intention is to go out, as other departments have, with three of the strong vendors that have been used by many departments in this county, and outside the county, and start the conversation, start to build that initial plan,” Schelling said. “We feel comfortable at this point with what’s being recommended and what mandates there are, and I think moving forward, myself as chief, I need to monitor that closely to ensure that we have that funding.”
Another positive for agencies as they look to add cameras is that the cost of the technology is dropping slightly, according to Schelling.