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Moline police roll out body cameras

The Moline Police Department now has 81 body cameras and 32 new dash cams.

MOLINE, Illinois-- All officers with the Moline Police Department started wearing body cameras Wednesday, Aug. 15.

Eighty-one officers, lieutenants, captains and the police chief now hit the "record" button everytime they respond to a call or make a traffic stop.

"So far the response has been overwhelmingly positive," Captain Brian Johnson said. "It's an easy tool to use."

Johnson said the department actually got the cameras up and running about a year earlier than expected, thanks to a grant they received earlier this year.

The body cams, plus 32 dash cams, software and charging stations cost $700,000 for five years. Johnson said the benefits are worth the expense.

"A lot of times we can't get to the bottom of things because we don't have it on camera," he said. "Ultimately it's going to make us more transparent and a lot more accountable for everything we do on a daily basis."

The video from the cameras can be used in court cases, and Johnson said they offer a more objective view.

"I can see and record a lot of information that will be great for court purposes," he said.

Since everything's stored in the cloud, it makes sending that evidence easier, too. Before, the department had to spend time and money burning tapes.

Johnson said most people assumed the department already had body cams. And he said research shows that people respond differently to police when they have cameras.

"In the public's eye, it maybe gives them a great level of transparency because everything we do now is going to be recorded," he said.