Illinois lawmakers who can’t agree on much of anything have given overwhelming bipartisan backing to a bill regarding police body cameras.
The bill doesn’t require that police officers have body cameras but sets statewide standards for the departments that use them. Funding for cameras would come from a $5 higher fee on traffic tickets.
The call for cameras comes in response to police shootings around the nation including the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. Everyone can appreciate the rationale as stated in the bill: “The General Assembly recognizes that trust and mutual respect between law enforcement agencies and the communities they protect and serve are essential to effective policing and the integrity of our criminal justice system.”
In many cases body cameras will provide indisputable evidence of what happened in a confrontation between an officer and a suspect. But understand that sometimes the video will be inconclusive and even raise more questions. Body cameras are a valuable tool, but they are not a magic potion.