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Spanish Daily Journal
     October 23, 2019      #11-296 sdj
 
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No founded complaints in 'very long time'

No hay quejas fundadas en 'mucho tiempo'

KANKAKEE — While Kankakee County's sheriff's deputies reportedly almost never get complaints about their conduct, Sheriff Mike Downey said earlier this month his department still needs to upgrade its in-car cameras.

"We know how important in-car cameras are to protect our officers from liability and from accusations that something happened that didn't happen," Downey told a Kankakee County Board oversight committee recently. "We don't get many complaints. I can't tell you the last time we got a complaint. We haven't had a founded complaint in a very, very long time."

The cameras are also for the community's protection, the sheriff said.

"We don't ever want to be accused of not having equipment that works adequately," Downey said.

The Sheriff's Department also wants to upgrade its computers, which were bought in 2008 and for which there are no spares, Downey said.

The total cost of new cameras and computers would be $117,000, Downey said.

Deputies' radars are also a problem. They cost $3,300 apiece.

"The radars in our car are as old as the computers. Most of them are disabled. I probably shouldn't say that in an open meeting," Downey said, adding that drivers don't know which radars aren't working.

The sheriff thanked the County Board for its commitment to upgrading the department's fleet of squad cars. Now, the county is replacing its 2011 cars with 2017 versions. In the next couple of months, the department hopes to replace the 2012 squad cars with 2019 ones. The 2013 vehicles will be replaced this year or next, Downey said.

"I tell you all this because there will be numbers that will have you flabbergasted," the sheriff said. "It's not something that we're asking you for today or tomorrow. We will look for additional monies to do this stuff."

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