Rauner: New law can pay for police body cameras
Local authorities will be able to use traffic ticket cash to pay for police body cameras after Gov. Bruce Rauner today signed a proposal lawmakers approved soon after a Zion police officer shot and killed Justus Howell.
The legislation was spurred on by national discussions about the use of police force after the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., last year.
Lawmakers' approval this spring came weeks after Lake County prosecutors decided not to prosecute the Zion officer who shot and killed Howell on April 4, ruling it was a justifiable homicide.
The new law adds $5 to traffic tickets in order to pay for grants local departments can win to buy body cameras or training for officers. It also creates guidelines for the use of police body cameras, including stating the cameras have to be turned on when officers respond to a call for service.
No body camera footage was available of the Howell shooting, leaving the public to rely on graining security camera footage from a greater distance to decide what happened.
"Today we are taking steps to strengthen the relationship between our law enforcement officers and the public they protect with the Police and Community Improvement Act," Rauner said. "As a society, we must ensure the safety of both the public and law enforcement.
The proposal was largely supported by suburban lawmakers of both parties when it was approved this spring.
"In a political climate not known for its abundance of bipartisan cooperation, we nevertheless built strong support on both sides of the aisle and from the governor for a package of reforms that demonstrate a serious commitment to restoring trust between law enforcement and communities," state Sen. Kwame Raoul, a Chicago Democrat, said.