Ill. jail buys body cameras for corrections officers

Stephenson County Sheriff’s Department is outfitting county jail officers with body cameras


By C1 Staff

STEPHENSON COUNTY, Ill. — Aiming to improve accountability and safety for both staff and inmates, the Stephenson County Sheriff’s Department is outfitting county jail officers with body cameras.

The Journal Standard reports that the officers will start wearing a small audio-video camera on the front of their shirts as soon as administrators draft a written policy regarding use of such cameras in the coming weeks.

The cameras will only record while officers are making their rounds inside the jail or when an officer makes physical contact with inmates.

“We thought because of some situations we’ve experienced at the jail,” said Stephenson County Sheriff David Snyders, “the cameras would be a benefit to add to our equipment list.”

The 2013 termination of a Stephenson County corrections officer for sexual harassment is among the reasons why Snyders says he decided to purchase 24 body cameras at $320 apiece.

Funding comes from the phone commissary account at the jail.

Footage from an officer’s camera will be reviewed whenever an incident requires investigation, such as an inmate-filed complaint of officer misconduct. Snyders also said that footage will be reviewed periodically to ensure proper officer protocol is being followed.

Assistant Stephenson County Jail Administrator Steven Stovall said the cameras will also be useful for officer training.

“Maybe it’s simply putting someone in a chair or putting someone in a cell,” Stovall said. “But we can review that footage and see what we can do better.”

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