Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office to add body cams this week

Local News

WINNEBAGO CO., Ill. (WTVO) — One of the demands from the group behind Rockford’s protest will be met sooner than later.

By the end of this week, every Winnebago County Sheriff’s deputy and corrections officers will be wearing a body camera. The department will be the first in the area to do so.

Deputies will debut the new addition tomorrow and the correction officers will next week. However, the change isn’t due to the protests. Outfitting patrol and corrections officers with body cameras has been in the works since November.

The new technology will come with a $2.4 Million price tag. Over 180 body cameras will be used.

Sheriff Gary Caruana said the decision is part of an effort to improve transparency and accountability within the force.

“It’s a good tool to preserve evidence, preserve the truth, make sure that everybody’s rights are fairly treated and not mistreated,” Sheriff Caruana explained.

The cameras are fastened near an officer’s’ chest and begin recording a number of ways including when an officer’s lights turn on or when a taser or gun is pulled.

They can also be turned off in sensitive situations.

It could be domestic violence, involving child abuse, we’re going to power it down, we’re going to explain to the camera, to keep the autonomy and keep that person safe,” the sheriff added.

Body camera footage is commonly used as evidence in court as a way to review the exact words and actions of law enforcement officials and the civilian involved.

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