Peoria City Council approves expansion of police body camera pro - WEEK.com: Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

Peoria City Council approves expansion of police body camera program

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PEORIA, Ill. (WEEK) -- -

The Peoria City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to expand the police department's body camera pilot program.

The Peoria Police Department currently has just three cameras. With this new funding, an additional 140 could be added. Peoria Police Chief Jerry Mitchell said that's enough to cover every officer who responds to calls

The department is getting a little over $250,000 from a federal grant to purchase the cameras and update technology to store all the footage. The city of Peoria and several other local police departments are matching the federal grant 50/50. 

The city's costs include hiring a new full-time employee to handle Freedom of Information Act requests for police camera video, paying existing staff for new responsibilities and buying new equipment and storage. 

But the chief of police says it's worth the investment. 

"I think this is going to allow us to be more efficient in our practices. Obviously if you have video to capture an incident or situation it's going to be more definitive," said Peoria Police Chief Jerry Mitchell.

We called the father of Eddie Russell, Jr. to get his reaction to the news. Russell was killed by police last month after allegedly coming at officers with a gun. None of the officers involved in the shooting wore body cameras. 

Eddie Russell, Sr. said that while he believes body cameras will deter some things that have been going on in police departments, he also believes  They should have had them on that day."

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