Police department starts using body cameras

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DANVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) — The Danville Police Department is now using body cameras to meet the heightened demand for police accountability and transparency.

Officers started using the body cameras this week. They serve as a tool that Police Chief Chris Yates says will help give a clear picture of what actually happens when they respond to calls. “Something that people don’t realize is how things can go from somewhat benign to catastrophic in just a matter of one second,” says Yates.

With each call for service, police officers face uncertainty. But unless you are there to see it, you wouldn’t know what really happened, until now. DPD is suiting up twenty eight of their officers with body cameras. The goal in the next year to year and a half is to have one for all sixty five officers.

Chief Yates described the footage as evidence that gives people a perspective behind the scenes of law enforcement. He says, “It also can let the community know what we are dealing with and some of the situations that you may not understand unless you actually see it on the screen yourself.” He says the body cameras will help with investigations, monitor oversights within the department, and provide a tool to better serve people in Danville. “It’s going to give additional guarantees of transparency.”

Patrol Commander Terry McCord described the process saying, “The cameras turn on automatically when our emergency lights come on in our squad cars. Then we also have the ability to activate them with a button on the camera itself.”

When Chief Yates became the head of the department, the use of body cameras was one of his top priorities. He says, “We’ve worked very hard at maintaining and rebuilding and strengthening different relationships that we have with our community.”

In total, this cost the department about $92,000 with help from a state grant. That includes the servers, internal storage space for the video, and the camera equipment.

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