Urbana police set to roll out new body cameras

Urbana police set to roll out new body cameras

URBANA — The Urbana Police Department is about to become the fifth Champaign County agency to use body cameras.

Lt. Joel Sanders said Thursday that the department has purchased an integrated video recording system that, in addition to body cameras, includes squad-car and interview-room surveillance cameras.

The cost of the system — which includes 14 squad-car cameras, 60 body-worn cameras, two interview-room cameras, a server, software and other support items — was about $220,000 and was largely paid for using funds already budgeted for the replacement of squad car cameras.

Rantoul police, University of Illinois police, the Champaign County Sheriff's Office and Champaign police already use body cameras.

Sanders said the new system will be put into use incrementally. One officer with a body camera and his squad are already outfitted and on the street.

Other squad car cameras will be installed as new vehicles are delivered. Sanders said 12 new squad cars, part of the regularly scheduled fleet replacement, are due any time, having been delayed from their expected delivery in October.

Officers will receive training on the body-worn cameras over the next several weeks. As the new squad cars hit the streets, uniformed officers assigned to those cars will begin using the body-worn cameras.

Detectives will also be issued body-worn cameras and begin using them when all of the other equipment has been set up to meet department specifications, Sanders said.

Sanders said the system is manufactured by WatchGuard, one of about six that he evaluated since 2015 and the same one that UI police use.

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