‘Yorkville Police Department is ahead of the curve’: officers now equipped with body-worn cameras

Yorkville police officer Timothy Kolowski shows off his new body-worn camera. The devices are now standard equipment for the Yorkville Police Department. (Photo provided by Yorkille Police Department)

YORKVILLE – Officers from the Yorkville Police Department are now equipped with body-worn cameras.

The police department rolled out the new cameras this week after a training period for officers.

“These body cameras are part of the evolving technology of law enforcement,” police Chief Jim Jensen said.

The Yorkville City Council last January approved a $147,000 contract with WatchGuard Video for 33 of the cameras 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.

“Advantages of body cameras include transparency to the public, increased civilian compliance, quicker resolutions to citizen complaints, increased officer professionalism and assistance in criminal prosecutions,” Jensen said.

Under state law, all police officers must be wearing the devices by Jan. 1, 2025, but Jensen said his officers were eager to start wearing the cameras as soon as possible.

“The Yorkville Police Department is ahead of the curve,” Jensen said.

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

The vehicle cameras remain in place and are synchronized with the body-worn cameras.

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

Under the body-worn camera lease arrangement, WatchGuard Video provides 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.

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