Rauner signs police guidelines for body cameras

- Governor Bruce Rauner signed legislation Wednesday making Illinois one of the first states to establish a comprehensive plan addressing police procedures on body cameras, bias-free policing and other issues.

The law creates a $5 surcharge on traffic tickets to help pay for the body cameras and for new training that police will now receive every year.

Some officers using body cameras in Chicago say they've had a very different experience once they announce, as they're supposed to, that everything's being recorded.

“It's calmed the interactions. We've gone into a situation where it's been a little hectic. Once they've been advised that they're being audibly recorded and visually, it brings it down a level, makes it easier to finish the assignment,” said Daniel Feliciano of CPD.

So, many more police body cameras may soon be on the street, now that Gov. Rauner's signed the new law setting forth ground rules for how they should be used.

A police union leader who attended the closed-to-the-news-media signing ceremony at the State Capitol hailed the law's requirement that every officer every year be freshly trained in the use of deadly force.

“So that officers, in fact, will have an opportunity to participate in "Shoot, Don't Shoot" scenarios. And in this day and age, that's certainly very good training for officers to have,” said Sean Smoot of the Illinois Police Benevolent and Protective Association.

Also part of the required training is teaching officers about "implicit bias" that they may not know they have; "cultural competency" to avoid unintentionally inflaming an encounter; and ways to "de-escalate" a confrontation.  

Civil liberties watchdogs call the new law a national model, especially for encouraging more cameras.

“It creates a mechanism for transparency and accountability.  It creates an independent record of what happened in the interaction,” ACLU Staff Attorney Karen Sheley.

The law takes effect on January 1, and also largely prohibits the use of chokeholds.

The legislation is SB1304.

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