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Sycamore Police Department seeks approval for body cameras, police union contract wage increases

SYCAMORE – The Sycamore City Council on Monday will deliberate over whether to outfit the Sycamore Police Department with body cameras.

Also up for council approval Monday is a request by Sycamore’s police union, the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 133 for an amended contract which includes a combined 4.75% wage increase for officers through May 1, 2022.

The camera request carries a $57,530 price tag and an initial five year contract, according to city documents, and would include 20 body-worn cameras for department’s 31 sworn officers, mounting brackets, charging stations, software and licensing and five-year warranties for the equipment, according to city documents.

The equipment contract would be through WatchGuard, the same company that outfitted Sycamore squad cars with in-car video camera systems.

According to city documents, the collective bargaining agreement request would amend the current contract – which was approved May 1, 2019 effective through April 30, 2023 — to offer additional wage increases for the last two years of that contract.

If approved, officers could receive a 2.5% increase on May 1, 2021 and a 2.25% increase on May 2, 2022, documents show.

Members of the union — which includes patrol officers through police sergeants — would also received a firearm certification stipend of $1,750 in 2022 and $3,000 in 2023. New hires would also have to reimburse the city for education costs associated with the basic police academy if the officer terminates their employment within the first three years of their hire date.

The council will deliberate during its regular meeting, set for 7 p.m. Monday via Zoom.

Deliberation will include the collective bargaining amendment, as well as the request for body cameras on two different set-ups for the technology: a cloud-based system which would store data collected from the cameras into a virtual cloud, or a server-based system, which would store the footage on a server.

The cloud-based system carries more financial costs, according to city documents. The quote for that system is $68,910, and would carry an annual cost of about $15,400 in years two through five. Whereas the server-based system, which city officials are recommending, would cost $57,530, with no additional annual fees for the first five years, and then $1,500 in annual costs beginning in year 6 of using the equipment.

If approved, officers would be outfitted with the body-worn cameras by Jan. 1, 2021, according to documents.

In September, the DeKalb City Council approved a similar request by the DeKalb Police Department, agreeing to a $415,000 five-year contract to outfit the DeKalb department, which has double the amount of officers as Sycamore, with body-worn cameras.

Body cameras have long since been a request made of DeKalb County law enforcement, renewed in earnest this year by local activists who participated in Black Lives Matter marches this summer spurred by the death of George Floyd.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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