Governor Signs Body Camera Bill
Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed a new bill to address the issue of the use of force by police officers. Among other provisions, the law sets statewide standards for police body camera use, expands police officer training, requires an independent investigation of all deaths in which an officer was involved, bans chokeholds, and creates a database of all officers fired or resigned because of misconduct.
The new law, Senate Bill 1304, does not require that police departments use body cameras. But if a department does choose to use them, they must follow state standards. Officers must keep their cameras turned on while responding to calls or performing law enforcement duties. They must turn the cameras on at least 30 seconds before any interaction with any member of the public, and must warn the public if they are being recorded. Cameras may be turned off if the officer is talking with a confidential informant, or if the victim or a witness requests it. The body cameras must be able to be record for a minimum of 10 hours.
Body camera footage must be preserved for 90 days, after which point it will be destroyed, unless the footage has been flagged in a complaint or investigation. The footage will not generally be subject to the Freedom of Information Act. But there is an exception if the cameras reveal evidence in certain incidents, such as those involving force, a discharged weapon, or death.
To defray the cost of the cameras and the increased training, traffic tickets will be increased by $5 each. The increase will not apply to parking, registration, or pedestrian tickets.
The new law also creates a database of police officers’ professional conduct. The database allows police chiefs to search for potential hires and examine their work histories. It will help to prevent misbehaving officers from going from department to department in order to avoid discipline.
Under the bill, officers will be banned from using chokeholds banned, except when deadly force is justified. Under Illinois law, an officer may use deadly force in order to protect him or herself or another person from death or serious injury. The law also introduces training guidelines to help officers become aware of and avoid bias.
The new statute also prohibits police departments from investigating deaths in which their own officers were involved. Instead, departments must send these cases to the State’s Attorney of the county. If the officer is not charged, the records of the investigation will be made public.
The bill makes several other changes, as well. One provision requires an officer making a pedestrian stop to issue a receipt, which gives the reason for the stop, along with the officer’s name and badge number. The law also requires police departments to send both monthly and annual reports to the Department of State Police, reporting crime statistics, including arrest-related deaths, police discharge of firearms, hate crimes, and more.
Understanding the new police conduct laws can be important if you are facing criminal charges. Please contact the dedicated Naperville criminal defense attorneys at Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC for a free initial consultation.