Body cam buying spree for smaller Quad City communities

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Some Quad City area police departments are investing in body cameras, but it's the smaller forces who are on the buying spree.

"I am all for it," said Bluegrass Police Chief John Jensen. Jensen says he believes the cameras will protect his officers and the town from frivolous lawsuits.

"It's a lot easier when you can take these and download it onto a disc and show it to an attorney or county attorney and look right at it and say 'Here's what the officer did,' "he said.

"We used Riverboat Development grant funds," he said.

Sgt. Garrett Jahns is the other full time officer for Bluegrass. There are four part-timers, who will all have body cameras as well.

"There's different officers out there who have mixed views on the whole body cam thing. My philosophy on it is if you're doing the job the right way, you don't really have anything to worry about," Jahns said.

Bluegrass joins local communities like LeClaire, Hampton, and Bettendorf who also use the cameras now.

Other larger cities in the metro Quad Cities like Rock Island, Moline, East Moline and Davenport, have not yet purchased them.

East Moline Police Chief Victor Moreno says his department has close to 40 officers, and he doesn't have the money to pay for the software, storage, maintenance, and manpower the cameras will require.

"We know at a minimum we're talking tens of thousands of dollars. The body cameras themselves are not expensive. Our concerns become the storage, the tagging, the support staff to maintain the system," Chief Moreno said.

For Jahns, it's a valuable tool and long-term investment.

"It's a little extra added something to have to put on the uniform and have to remember. But at the end of the day, it's all about accountability. If a body cam makes the public more comfortable, it's okay," he said.

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