URBANA, Ill. – Thanks to a generous donation from Jim and Barb Esworthy of the Journey Foundation, the University of Illinois Police Department is moving toward equipping all of its officers with body cameras.
On Friday, the Esworthys presented to the police department a $6,000 check, which will go toward converting the department’s existing squad-car camera and video management systems to the same system that the body cameras will run on. Converting everything to the same system will allow the department’s squad car cameras have a wider range of view, and it will make the management of video and associated case files more efficient.
The body camera project is a big part of the University of Illinois Police Department’s commitment to transparency. The department plans to have patrol officers equipped with body cameras before the next school year begins in August.
Better footage from squad cars and body cameras will also provide stronger evidence in court. For example, the video footage will be helpful in drunken driving cases, for which crucial evidence like video-recorded field sobriety tests is important to the successful prosecution of offenders and deterring further incidents.
The Esworthys and their Journey Foundation have been a supporter of local law enforcement for many years. Their donations to police agencies in Champaign County have been crucial in allowing those agencies purchase the tools they need to deter driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
“The Esworthys have been a great partner for many years, and their commitment to deterrence and education around impaired driving is tremendously appreciated,” said U. of I. Police Chief Craig Stone. “Police everywhere rely on the support of community members to provide the best service they can, and the Esworthys are an incredible example of the difference those partnerships can make.”