Evanston police today started testing body-worn cameras — with nine officers and two supervisors wearing them during their shifts.

The Evanston Police Department in partnership with the Northwestern University Police Department received a grant to implement a body-worn camera program at each agency.

Nationwide, Police Cmdr. Joseph Dugan says, the use of body-worn cameras has become a best practice for police departments.

He says the cameras can improve evidence collection and officer performance and accountability, enhance transparency, provide better documentation during encounters between the police and the public and assist in the investigation of complaints.

Studies have shown that the presence of a body-worn camera has a positive effect on the behavior of both officers and citizens during encounters, Dugan says.

Officers Dagmara Koste and Pauline Pogorzelski are among the Evanston police taking part in the initial body-worn camera tests (EPD photo).

He says the initial tests will help determine the reliability and effectiveness of the equipment and address any procedural or technical issues that may arise.

The testing and evaluation phase of the body-worn camera program will last throughout the summer.  

A body-worn camera page has been added to the city website that includes a draft copy of the camera policy, a link to the State of Illinois law regarding body-worn cameras and a survey that solicits input from the community on the program.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Leave a comment

The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.