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Rockford City Council begins process of obtaining police body cameras

Community Relations Committee sends memorandum detailing a need for the devices.
Body camera discussion in Rockford City Council
Body camera discussion in Rockford City Council(WIFR)
Published: Aug. 3, 2020 at 9:33 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Unrest across the country continues following the death of George Floyd. Leaked body camera footage from the officers involved in Floyd’s death came out Monday night and has communities outraged.

While there is an investigation into how that body camera video was leaked, local discussions about a need for the devices begin.

“It’s safety for our residents and for our police officers,” says Rockford Alderperson Kevin Frost. “I think it’s a good thing. I think it helps for accountability, I think it helps for credibility, I think having an image that can be reviewed later is always a good thing.”

Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara asked the Community Relations Committee to review use of force policy and body cameras to determine if the local community would benefit from the police department having them. Monday the committee sent a memorandum to city council and suggest leaders move forward with body worn cameras.

“In 2019 we completed the implementation of cameras within our patrol vehicles, so this was a logical next step, certainly as we have conversations in regards to accountability and transparency for policing within our community,” says City Administrator Todd Cagnoni.

Protest groups like RYA initially listed body cameras as a demand in order to bring peace to the area. McNamara says through listening sessions he realized a need for reform in other areas, too.

“Understand, this is the very beginning of some of these discussions,” says McNamara. “There’s a host of other issues that are coming to the forefront through these listening sessions. So over the next several week’s we’ll bring additional items forward.”

The item is scheduled to go in front of the finance and personnel committee next Monday. Frost and McNamara believe it should pass through council within the next several weeks.

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