It looks like Naperville patrol officers soon will be armed with new ammunition: evidence on tape.
City Council members will be asked Tuesday evening to approve the purchase of 38 video cameras that will be mounted on the dashboards of city patrol vehicles. The cost, up to $295,970, will be covered using the proceeds from a state-mandated technology fee the city receives for every conviction in a case of driving under the influence.
The idea is to provide a more thorough record of incidents, as a way of bolstering cases in court and to protect officers from false accusations of misconduct.
“Often video evidence is so clear and convincing that the video need only be played in court to persuade judges and juries of guilt or innocence,” Mike Bevis, the city’s chief procurement officer, wrote in a council memo.
According to Naperville Police Chief Bob Marshall, the upgrade has been eagerly awaited by the local criminal justice system.
“We’re one of the only police departments in DuPage County that does not have video cameras in the squad cars,” Marshall said. “The chief judge, prosecutors are all very excited that we’ll have these.”
The devices will bolster prosecutions, Marshall said, especially in cases against allegedly impaired drivers. Currently much of the case rests on officers’ testimony, and there have been instances in which video evidence would have made a difference in the outcome. Marshall said judges especially urge local departments to equip their patrol cars with the equipment.
“As you know, pictures say a thousand words,” he said.