May 26, 2022
Government


Government

Yorkville City Council OKs contract for police body-worn cameras

Aldermen approve $147,000 lease deal to outfit entire force

Yorkville Police Chief Jim Jensen, right, explains the body-worn camera system to City Council members Tuesday evening, Jan. 25, 2022. With Jensen is Deputy Chief of Field Operations Ray Mikolasek, who spearheaded the effort. (Mark Foster - mfoster@shawmedia.com)

YORKVILLE – The Yorkville Police Department’s officers are expected be equipped with body-worn cameras later this year.

The City Council on Jan. 25 approved a $147,000 contract with WatchGuard Video for 33 of the devices to outfit the entire force of sworn officers over a five-year period.

The body-worn cameras allow police to make audiovisual recordings of their interactions with the public. The recordings are stored in cloud-based servers.

Deputy Chief of Field Operations Ray Mikolasek said the goal is to have officers using the new equipment in about six months, after the May 1 start date for the city’s budget year.

“Our officers want the cameras,” Mikolasek said.

Police Chief Jim Jensen said the department will begin training for using the cameras even before they arrive.

“So when the equipment comes in we are ready to go,” Jensen said.

Under the lease arrangement, WatchGuard Video will provide the Motorola cameras, software and hardware for the system.

Damaged cameras will be replaced automatically and all the cameras are to be upgraded with the latest models after three years, the Mikolasek said.

“It’s a no-fault warranty,” Jensen said. “We will be getting the latest in body camera technology.”

If the city renews the lease at the end of the five-year term, the cameras would be replaced with newer models yet again, Mikolasek said.

Under state law, the department’s officers must be wearing the devices by Jan. 1, 2025.

“I’m glad we’re ahead of the curve on this,” Alderman Chris Funkhouser said.

The police department will be seeking a grant from the Illinois Law Enforcement Standards Training Board to help finance the lease deal, Mikolasek said.

Yorkville could expect to receive a reimbursement of about $29,000, based on the cost and number of cameras, Mikolasek said.

Currently, Yorkville police vehicles are equipped with a video camera mounted from the interior ceiling and aimed through the windshield for a view forward.

Officers wear an audio microphone on their uniforms. A second camera in the vehicle monitors prisoners in the back seat.

The vehicle cameras are to remain in place and will be synchronized with the body-worn cameras, Mikolasek said.


Mark Foster

Mark Foster is a reporter for Kendall County Now, covering local government in Kendall County