Winnebago State’s Attorney worried about new Rockford body-cameras

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Rockford Police officers are now equipped with body cameras, technology that has been worn by Winnebago County Sheriff Deputies for over a year.

While Sheriff Gary Caruana said that the technology has provided more comfort for the deputies, State’s Attorney J. Hanley said that his office is slightly worried on being equipped with the right resources to handle all the footage.

Hanley said that his worried his office’s resources and staffing will be stretched thin by the new body-worn cameras.

“For us, it’s a real challenge,” Hanley said. “It can take a tremendous amount of space, it’s going to cost us money. It’s really important that we’re ensuring that we’re doing it as efficiently and effective as possible. We’re already understaffed and, so, this evidence has to be viewed, it can be hours long.”

However, Hanley said that the evidence will be key for cases going forward.

“It’s going to be really transformative in domestic cases, because your potentially going to have statements, the victim’s injuries, which is going to be scene on the body cameras, and it should help us have more success on prosecuting those cases,” Hanley said.

“We were the first ones to go, a year and a half ago, within our region, and what I’d suggest with any law enforcement agency is it really preserves the truth, because you know what we’ll deal with the truth,” said Caruana. “The quality and clarity is great and the battery life is good, and they’re happy to have them on. I am too, because it preserves the truth.”

Caruana said that the cameras have played a critical role in many investigations, including the deadly officer-involved shooting earlier this year.

“Tragic, tragic situation, but I’m glad we had the body cameras because we were able to analyze it, look at it, it was great for the investigation with the integrity task force, the state’s attorney’s office, it’s a good thing,” Caruana said. “I really urge a lot of the other agencies to get on that body camera.”

Both the State’s Attorney and Sheriff said that the cameras will also increase transparency with the community during investigations.

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