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By Devese “Dee” Ursery
Troy Police are now equipped with body cameras.
All 21 sworn officers of the Troy Police Department were recently trained by Motorola on their Watchguard V300 body cameras. Assistant Chief Christopher Wasser said that all officers had to undergo a two-week online training course before implementation. Training was between two to four hours, depending on the role of the officer.
“Supervisors required longer training than patrol officers,” Wasser said.
Wasser said that the body cameras would benefit the residents of Troy by allowing officers to capture the entirety of police incidents and ensure that the report is completed accurately.
“It will allow officers the ability to recall the incident and complete an accurate police report,” Wasser said. “It is also a key piece of evidence in the successful prosecution of individuals that have committed crimes.”
Wasser said body cameras should be on during all enforcement and investigative contacts including stops and field interview situations. This includes traffic stops, not limited to traffic violations, stranded motorists assistance and all crime interdiction stops, such as burglary, drugs, theft, human trafficking and others.
“It also is activated in self-initiated activity in which an officer would normally notify the Communications Center,” Wasser said.
The body cameras cost $1,250 each and the total price of the entire project was $63,000, which encompasses the server, software, charging stations and vehicle docking stations. The V300 are mission-critical body cameras specifically for law enforcement. These units are continuous-operational body cameras that last beyond an officer’s 12-hour shift.
Wasser also stated that the Troy Police Department would follow policy from the Illinois Municipal League on obtaining recordings from body cameras through the use of FOIA requests. The policy is provided by the Law Enforcement Officer-Worn Body Camera Act.
Policy states that recordings made with officer-worn body cameras are generally not subject to disclosure under FOIA. To obtain footage of police-worn body cameras from a city or police department via FOIA request, one of the following conditions must be met.
The recorded incident is flagged due to the discharge of a firearm, the use of force, an arrest is made, or there is an incident resulting in death or bodily harm. The requestor has to either be subject of the recording, the officer involved, an attorney for either the subject or officer. Also a person with permission from either the victim or a witness of the incident can obtain the footage.
If the subject was arrested as a result of the encounter, they are not eligible to request the recording under FOIA.
According to Wasser, license plate readers were also placed on the west side of Interstate 55. He said that the body cams were activated on Feb. 6 and the LPRs were activated within that same week.
“The Troy Police Department believes that the addition of the body cameras is a great tool for the officers, and the public,” Wasser said. “Being transparent is a top priority for our law enforcement agency and having body cameras shows our commitment to this.”