Police Chief Details Body Camera Program

Alpha Media/Ryan Piers

Peoria City Council voted to expand the Peoria Police Department’s body camera program.

The department is currently using just three cameras as part of a pilot program.

But with the help of a grant worth more than $250,000, it will expand the program to about 140 officers.

“The plan will be to implement them per shift and work out all the issues that come from that,” Peoria Police Chief Jerry Mitchell said. “As we roll through that we will put out another shift.”

Mitchell expects officers to begin using the cameras in March. They will be rolled out over a couple of weeks.

Officers in the uniformed service division, serving a patrol function or traffic division will wear the cameras.

“It will provide some better transparency but it is gonna change behaviors on both sides,” Mitchell said.

Denise Backes oversees the project as the department’s legal management analyst. She says the pilot program has had some bugs.

“Minor technical issues, cameras dying, random technical things,” she said.

But overall, she says the pilot program has been a success.

Dictated by law, the video would be stored for 90 days.

A full-time technical person would oversee the body camera program.

Officers will turn the cameras on when they go out on a call and off when they return.

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