Body Worn Cameras
The Palatine Police Department welcomed the use of body-worn cameras in the spring of 2023 to aid in capturing audio and video recordings of daily police-citizen interactions.
Why Police Departments Use Body Worn Cameras
Body worn cameras are becoming more commonplace in law enforcement. The quality of the technology continues to evolve, and an increasing number of law enforcement agencies are embracing body worn cameras to improve transparency and accountability. Extensive studies and research affirm the technology, which can be mounted on an officer’s uniform, offers law enforcement with a tool to promote transparency to the public, increased civilian compliance, quicker resolutions to citizen complaints, increased officer professionalism, and assist with criminal prosecutions.
Palatine's Body Worn Camera Program
Body cameras are worn by all sworn Palatine Police officers and supervisors. Their use is governed by department policy and state law. While PPD believes that the use of these cameras significantly benefits both the community and its officers, no technology is a perfect solution for all situations. Body-worn cameras have limitations in that they may not capture all of what an officer sees or hears or what an officer senses or experiences. Therefore, body-worn cameras do not provide the totality of the circumstances that drives an officer’s response to a particular situation. The Palatine Police Department uses body-worn camera footage in combination with other existing tools, like in-car cameras and formal incident reports to ensure the totality of each incident is documented.
Below is some information and resources on body worn cameras, including a video and FAQs. This information is provided to give residents a greater awareness of body camera functions and limitations, and Palatine PD's guidelines around use, privacy and storage.
What does an officer record?
According to Illinois law, the camera must be turned on at all times when an officer is responding to a call for service or engaged in law enforcement activities.
Are officers required to tell people they are being recorded?
According to Illinois law, officers must only provide notice of recording only in circumstances where the individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy. The Palatine Police Department policy requires officers to wear their body-worn camera in a conspicuous location so the individual is aware the officer may be recording.
What if someone does not want to be recorded?
According to Illinois law, a victim, witness or community member who wishes to report a crime can request the camera be turned off. However, an officer may continue to record if exigent circumstances exist or the officer has a reasonable articulable suspicion that the individual may be involved in a crime.
Can officers record inside my home?
Yes. If an officer is conducting official business and has a legal right to be somewhere, he/she can also capture video. This includes private property.
What happens to a video once it is recorded?
By law, recordings made on a body-worn camera must be retained for 90 days. Videos will be stored through a secure, cloud-based service in compliance with federal Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS) standards. After the 90 days, all recordings must be destroyed unless they are flagged as being part of a criminal, civil or administrative investigation. Flagged recordings are kept indefinitely, or until the department receives a court order from a judge ordering its destruction.
Who has access to the videos?
All recorded media, images and audio are property of the Palatine Police Department. State law and department policy outline who within the department can access body-worn camera footage and when.