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Carbondale Police To Begin Wearing Body Cams

 Lights on a police car
Scott Rodgerson

Body-worn cameras have become an essential tool for law enforcement, providing an objective and unbiased record of interactions between officers and members of the community.

As stated in the SAFE-T Act, all Police Officers in Illinois will be mandated to wear body cameras within prescribed timelines. For municipalities with less than 50,000 residents, the mandate begins in January 2025. The Carbondale Police Department will implement this initiative 1 ½ years ahead of the state mandate.

In a statement, Chief Stan Reno says that in the best interest of the community, the department is proud to embrace the new technology. He believes the body cameras will enhance police services and help keep the community safe.

The body camera initiative is aimed at enhancing transparency, accountability, and community trust while providing a significant step forward in the commitment to maintaining the highest standards of professionalism and integrity.

Research indicates that body-worn cameras also result in increased civility toward officers, fewer officer complaints, increased oversight of officer actions, enhanced training opportunities for officers, and a reduction in use of force incidents (see research PDF at https://www.ojp.gov/pdffiles1/nij/252035.pdf).

As part of this new initiative, all officers within the Carbondale Police Department will be equipped with body-worn cameras during their interactions with the public. This comprehensive deployment ensures that a vast majority of encounters will be captured, fostering increased trust and accountability.

The Carbondale Police Department has implemented a stringent policy that has been reviewed and approved by the Bureau of Justice Assistance to govern the use of body-worn cameras, ensuring compliance with privacy expectations and safeguarding the rights of those recorded. Officers have received thorough training on the proper use, activations, and handling of the cameras to help ensure consistent and reliable use of this technology. The policy can be found on the Carbondale Police website, www.carbondalepolice.com.

Leah Lerner is a media writer, producer, and announcer at WSIU Public Broadcasting located at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Contact WSIU Radio at 618-453-6101 or email wsiunews@wsiu.org.
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