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Fines Might Pay for Police Body Cameras

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Illinois lawmakers will consider whether to increase the penalty fine for traffic and criminal offenses to help cover the cost of purchasing body cameras for police departments across the state. 

House Bill 3911 would direct money into the Law Enforcement Camera Grant Fund to be used to purchase cameras for patrol cars and police officers.

The legislation is in response to the August shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.

State Representative Jil Tracy (R-Quincy) said the bill could be brought up in the upcoming veto session. She said lawmakers will need to determine whether fines are the best way to raise the money.

“You’ve got to study and look at whether it’s too punitive," Tracy said. “Is it going to be a burden for circuit clerks to collect? You know, they’ve had a lot of extra increases in their workload in the last few years. All of that comes to bear when deciding whether this is worth it.”

State Representative Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) said there’s also plenty to be decided when it comes to how the money will be collected and distributed back to local police departments.  

Meanwhile, lawmakers are also crafting legislation to govern body cameras.

Emily Boyer is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.