Watch CBS News

As Domestic Violence Calls Climb, Kane County Sheriff's Office Rolls Out Body Cameras For Deputies

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The Kane County Sheriff's Office has started rolling out body cameras for its deputies, to record audio and video of interactions between deputies and the public, in an effort to improve transparency and accountability.

In 17 years on the road, Kane County Sheriff's Deputy Raul Salinas has encountered a tricky situation or two. His second set of eyes on the dashboard helps, but can't see everything.

Now, he's getting a new perspective.

"This is our first time having body cameras," he said.

They come at a crucial moment. Domestic violence calls in Kane County are up 15% since the pandemic started.

"One of the most violent calls, statistically, that officers can respond to, now they have that body camera when they're going in the house," Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain said.

Also From CBS Chicago:

Activating the body cameras is as simple as pressing the button in the center of the device. It's so simple, training takes less than a day, yet only a quarter of Hain's force is wearing the extra protection right now.

"Everybody thinks 'Oh, Kane County's going to body cameras. Boom, everybody's going to be wearing it the next day,' but, no. We had to go through an RFP [request for proposals] process," Hain said.

Then they needed to get the $170,000-a-year expense approved and shipped.

"Now our fleet manager is expecting about three to five months for installation," Hain said.

The rollout involves re-wiring the whole squad car. Cameras for the dash, backseat, and officer need to speak to each other with a flip off the lights. How quick does everything turn on?

"Immediately," Salinas said.

Being automatic leaves little room for error.

Asked how hard it is to get used to, Salinas said, "that's not hard either."

Salinas explained he'd turn the camera on himself if a calm situation escalates.

Supervisors sporadically review body camera videos from every deputy to make sure the equipment is being used properly.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.