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Report for America is a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues and communities.

Body Cameras Contract Approved In DeKalb

DeKalb Police Department

 The DeKalb Police Department may be sporting body-worn cameras sooner than anticipated.


The DeKalb City Council unanimously approved a contract with Axon Enterprises, Inc. to purchase body-worn cameras for the police department. DeKalb City Manager Bill Nicklas says it’s a step in the right direction.  


“They don't solve all problems clearly. But it's one step toward greater accountability,” he said. “And it helps both the resident or guests who would be encountering a police officer, and also helps a police officer in the sense that the film will show what happened.”


Nicklas said the deal will cost less than $500,000 over the course of the first five years of the program. That’s less than the $150,000 a year the City had previously expected to pay for the program 


The plan still requires the sale of the old City Hall building to finance and be approved through the 2021 fiscal budget, but Nicklas said the police department will likely be implementing body-worn cameras by the end of the year.


  • Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco is a 2020 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project which is a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms.
Juanpablo covers environmental, substandard housing and police-community relations. He’s been a bilingual facilitator at the StoryCorps office in Chicago. As a civic reporting fellow at City Bureau, a non-profit news organization that focuses on Chicago’s South Side, Ramirez-Franco produced print and audio stories about the Pilsen neighborhood. Before that, he was a production intern at the Third Coast International Audio Festival and the rural America editorial intern at In These Times magazine. Ramirez-Franco grew up in northern Illinois. He is a graduate of Knox College.