A plan to fund body cameras for the police department through video gaming fees is going forward after a vote by the Highland City Council. The council approved a $250 annual charge per video gaming terminal on Highland businesses on April 4. The fee is permitted by a new law that went into effect in December, allowing non-home rule communities to impose the fee. Highland has approximately 15 establishments with a total of 85 video game terminals. The fees generated would add about $20,000 a year to the city budget, which is intended to fund the body cameras that will be required of all Highland Police officers by 2025.

Councilwoman Peggy Bellm asked how the cost of the fee would be split, and City Manager Chris Conrad confirmed the $250 would be split 50-50 between the licensed establishment and the terminal operator.

“This will also be set up so they can pay quarterly, if they wish,” Conrad said. The body cameras will be purchased along with a planned upgrade of the in-car video camera systems, which allows the city to save some money on a step they will be required to take anyway in a few years. Conrad has said some communities are funding their body cameras with liquor license fees, but that would require Highland’s bars to front all of the cost. By linking it to the video gaming fees, he said, the cost is split with the video companies. The fee is scheduled to take effect in July when the licenses are renewed. Failure to pay the fee can be punishable by revocation of liquor license.

Region: Metro East,Feeds,News,City: Belleville

via Metro East Breaking News & Crime | https://www.bnd.com/

April 12, 2022 at 07:07AM