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Illinois State Troopers To Carry Tasers Equipped With Cameras

Illinois State Troopers will soon start carrying tasers that are equipped with cameras. Before the new tasers hit the streets, every trooper has to go through extensive training. Illinois State Police say they should be in full swing by the new year.
From our affiliate WCIA's Ashley Michels:
Illinois State Troopers will soon have an extra set of eyes with them in the field, even if they patrol alone.

All state troopers will soon be carrying tasers. The difference with these is they will be equipped with cameras and can capture audio and video each time it's used.

"It's a great tool for law enforcement. It's an equalizer," says Brad Wheeler of Chatham.

That's because, in just five seconds a taser can make a heated situation a lot calmer. Now, the Illinois State Police will jump on board. Soon, every trooper will be equipped with one and every second it's used will be caught on tape.

"I think it's good on both sides for the police officer and the victim," Wheeler says.

State police say the high tech tasers are mostly a safety measure since many times troopers are in rural areas without backup which can cause problems.

"The court is going to be able to see right on that film exactly what happened," says Roger Everett of Taylorville.

"Having a video tape of this event may very well help law enforcement just like dash cams," says Sangamon County Under-sheriff Jack Campbell. However, Campbell says they're not a perfect solution.

"The problem is the camera does not activate until the safety is taken off. The camera will not tell the whole story. It may look worse than what it is because you don't know what happened prior to that event."

They come with a hefty price tag. The state is spending about $1.4 million on them. It's an expense taxpayers think is fair for safety, just not while the state's budget is so thin.

"There's nothing that says they have to have these right now. It's great if they want to investigate it, but I don't think they need to roll it out to everybody right now," says Wheeler.

Before the new tasers hit the streets, every trooper will undergo extensive training. State police say they should be in full swing by the new year.

In Champaign County, the sheriff's department already uses the technology. Deputies at the jail carry tasers with cameras, but patrol officers use tasers without them. UI patrol officers also have tasers, some of which have cameras as well.
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