Valmeyer will join the rest of the municipal and county law enforcement agencies in the area and implement officer body cameras well ahead of the state’s 2024 deadline.
An Illinois law was passed in March that requires all police and sheriff’s departments to have video recording devices for all on-duty officers.
In September, Valmeyer Police Chief Marty Seitz reported at a meeting of the Valmeyer Village Board that his department had received the cameras.
He told the Republic-Times that the department will also be changing its existing vehicle camera system to WatchGuard to match the body cameras and also to be on the same system as other departments in the county.
The Waterloo and Columbia police departments as well as the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department are currently in the process of implementing use of body cameras.
Seitz said the switch to WatchGuard will also allow “integration” of both feeds, meaning video from the body cam can be viewed alongside the car camera video from the same time.
One difference between Valmeyer police and others will be the lack of “cloud,” or internet-based, storage and streaming. Due to a “low call volume” in the village, Seitz reasoned that it was not necessary or fiscally responsible to pay the service fees.
He added it made sense for larger departments such as Columbia to have real-time access to video feeds, noting that all recording for his department will still be available for review when downloaded from the cameras.
Similar to other law enforcement in the area, Valmeyer is working to ensure the policies and procedures of the department match what will be required by the state.
Seitz did not have an estimated start date for body cam usage, but said the department is “years ahead” of where they need to be.
He explained his department “goes as the county goes” in terms of rollout and expects Valmeyer police to start using the equipment at the same time as the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department.
He said the new in-car cameras should ready for use “in the next month.”
One of the users of the new body cameras will be 2017 Valmeyer High School graduate Cole Juelfs.
The village board voted to approve hiring Juelfs at its Sept. 21 meeting.
Seitz said Juelfs was excited to join the department and will begin Police Academy training when the next session begins in January.
Juelfs will replace Casey Harget as the village’s other full-time officer. Harget left Valmeyer in August to return to the Dupo Police Department as that village’s school resource officer.
When Juelfs graduates the academy, Valmeyer will have two full-time officers and five part-time officers on staff. The department will have three body cameras and three vehicle cameras, making the equipment available regardless of which officers are on duty.
In other business, the village board voted on Sept. 7 to participate in the Monroe County Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan.
The county’s plan requires all municipalities to agree to participation before implementation.
Valmeyer Village Manager Dennis Valentine also confirmed that street repairs in the village and the Rock City complex have been completed.
Work to repair damaged portions of village streets began earlier this year and some required an underlay work before surface repairs could be completed.
Valentine said that with the recent work, all scheduled street repairs for this year have been completed.