Illinois governor signs police body camera bill into law
Illinois governor signs police body camera bill into law

[JURIST] Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner [official website] on Wednesday signed into law the bill known as SB 1304 [materials] which includes the Law Enforcement Body Worn Camera Act, establishing sweeping regulations for police officers’ use of body cameras while on duty. The bill will require Illinois drivers to pay an additional $5 fee on traffic tickets in order to help fund equipping police officers across the state with body cameras. The enactment comes after recent allegations [Chicago Tribune report] of police misuse of force in the state. The law is considered to be very comprehensive, as it also includes regulations for expanded police training regarding use of force, bans the use of choke-holds, creates a database of officers that have been fired or resigned due to poor conduct and requires an independent investigations of all deaths that involve an officer. The new law does not require that officers wear the body cameras, but specifies how they are to be warn, when they should be turned on and how long recorded video should be kept.

Policing incidents related to body cameras and racial profiling have been a highly contested issue dating back to the Ferguson, Missouri shootings [BBC report] from last year. In July New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s office announced [JURIST report] that the New Jersey State Police will spend $1.5 million to acquire 1,000 body cameras for troopers, in addition to the implementation of new guidelines aimed at expanding disclosures about investigations of officers’ use of force. In February the self-defense products company TASER International Inc. announced [JURIST report] that Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office will be receiving an order of cameras which will be worn by officers to record their actions in the field. Under the sales agreement, TASER would deliver 700 body cameras, costing an estimated $1 million. Last year the UN Committee Against Torture urged the US [JURIST report] to open investigations into all cases of police brutality and excessive use of force by police officers.