Eavesdropping Bill Advances to Illinois House
By Sean Powers
An Illinois legislative committee approved a measure this week to update the state’s eavesdropping law. The bill would allow police officers to audio record people without their consent using newer technology.
Rantoul Police’s Department is looking to upgrade the recording equipment officers use in the field during traffic stops and other arrests.
Lieutenant Jeff Wooten said the department uses dashboard cameras in squad cars, which pick up audio from a wireless microphone. But he said those cameras cost about $4,500 more than cameras recently purchased by the department, which can attach directly to an officer’s uniform.
“From a practical standpoint are officers are going to capture better quality video because what you’ll view is from the officer’s perspective,”Wooten said.
These newer cameras can record audio, but Illinois’ Eavesdropping Act does not exempt officer-worn video cameras that pick up audio. A measure sponsored by State Rep. Chad Hays (R-Catlin) would change that in the eavesdropping law.
“This would not expand the instances where the videotaping could occur,” Hays said. “It just acknowledges that the next generation of technology is upon us and would allow that use.”
The bill would only apply to law enforcement officers. It now moves to the full House.