The spring debut of body cameras for Peoria Police has been pushed back, but only by a few weeks.
Acting Peoria Police Chief Loren Marion explained the delay will last a little longer than a month and while the department is eager to get the equipment on the streets, Marion believes it's more important to make sure the process is handled right.
"This is a huge overtaking for the department..to take on a project this big" said Marion Tuesday afternoon in his office
Last October Peoria Police announced they were one of several departments in the area to receive a combined total of a half million dollars for body cameras.
That plan has now changed as Marion explains a few agencies dropped out because of the cost.
The Chief confirmed his department will still receive a $253,000 grant for the cameras, but they must now come up with more money since three of the seven stakeholders opted out, contributing to the cameras' release date.
"We were set to roll them at the end of April. So now it'll push us back maybe about 6 weeks." Marion outlined.
But according to Marion, money isn't the only issue.
The other major factor holding up the camera debut....storage.
Because the cameras are on all day, Marion stated it's crucial they find a company that offers both electronic cloud-based storage and a physical server to ensure transparency. "If there is a situation where something does happen then we can hold officers accountable as well as the community accountable." said the Chief.
The department plans to secure 140 body cameras, but the chief is asking for the public's patience because when the cameras arrive, they won't all be rolled out at once.
"For the community to think, 'Ok, well, they have cameras and tomorrow we'll have 120 officers with body cams'....it's not that easy. I wish it was. So we'll roll out a shift at a time to make sure there aren't any issues."
Marion ensures officers will be required to turn the cameras on before they respond to an incident. However, he added that there will be kinks to work out in the beginning and hopes the community understands like most new practices, it will take time for officers to get acquanted with the new technology.
The department will also have corrective policies in place to hold officers accountable if they forget to turn on their body cameras, along with thorough training to make certain they are using them properly, said Marion.