ORLAND PARK, IL Officers of the Orland Park Police Department will soon be testing out an officer-worn body camera program. Village officials unanimously passed the memorandum of agreement between the village and the Metropolitan Alliance of Police the union representing Orland Park's police officers.

According to the memorandum, the village is committed to the body worn camera pilot program, and body cams are an effective law enforcement tool that can reduce violent confrontations and complaints against officers.

Officers will be testing cameras by three separate vendors, according to Orland Park Police Chief Joe Mitchell. The Axon body camera system is set to begin field testing in early November for 30 days, followed by Watch Guard and lastly, Panasonic in early 2021.

The agreement states that body worn cameras provide additional documentation of police and public encounters and may be an important tool for collecting evidence and maintaining public trust.

Mitchell said that due to considerable expenses in implementing the program, the department is doing its due diligence in determining the best platform for eventual permanent field use. He added the departments will be looking at the proper hardware, software and storage requirements, seeking to be fiscally responsible in the use of taxpayer funds.

"The department will be putting each body worn camera through its paces to determine the strengths and ultimately the weaknesses of each system in the field," Mitchell said.

Both the union and the village agreed to discuss the appropriate use of body worn cameras, if the program is successful and results in the expansion to all sworn-in officers, according to the agreement.

The overall goal of the pilot program is to understand the need for cameras, anticipated benefits, costs, uses and privacy impact, according to the memorandum. The program will mainly have traffic control officers wearing these cameras, but say the program is not limited to traffic use.

Mitchell said the decision to implement the program was his and didn't come due to any previous incidences, nor was it suggested from any residents.

"The department has and will always continue to be proactive in the use of technology to accomplish our mission of protecting and serving the residents and people who chose to come to the Village of Orland Park to visit, work, eat or play," Mitchell said.

The police chief said this new tool is useful because it will help police gather evidence of crime and support the actions of officers, and potentially "safeguard" officers and the department from any false allegations of wrongdoing.

"Time and time again, department equipped vehicles with in-car video systems, have unequivocally refuted claims of violations of policy and procedures made by people that are stopped by the men and women of the Orland Park Police Department. Body worn cameras will be able to capture video far away from a department vehicle. Additionally, the union and sworn members of the department are in complete support of this pilot program," Mitchell said.

More here:
Orland Police Officers To Wear Body Cameras, Test New Program - Patch.com

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