(The Center Square) – Illinois EMS workers would have to wear body cameras while on duty under proposed legislation introduced at the statehouse.
Senate Bill 1306 was introduced by state Sen. Doris Turner, D-Springfield. Turner said the idea came to her after the death of a Springfield resident who was allegedly strapped facedown on a stretcher by EMS workers.
“A month or so ago in Springfield, we saw the situation with Mr. Earl Moore,” Turner told The Center Square. “If it had not been for the police bodycams, we would never know what happened in that residence and outside that residence that led to his death.”
Turner said police body cameras have been successful for law enforcement and believes the same can be accomplished with EMS.
“We saw how that has worked out. It has been extremely beneficial for the police as well as the community,” Turner said. “I think that we will see the same situation for the bodycams for the EMS workers.”
Ted Lee, EMS Subject Matter Expert for Clarion Fire & Rescue Group, said while some workers may feel they are being watched by “big brother,” or the footage could be used for discipline, the cameras could protect the workers in certain situations.
“The use of these could help with protecting EMS professionals against ‘he said she said’ complaints against the crews giving true documentation to the events as they played out,” Lee told The Center Square in an email. “One would think that this might also make people think twice against acting out or violent interactions with EMS providers who are some of the most abused professionals in health care.”
Turner said she hopes to connect with EMS providers to help make this work for everyone involved.
“We filed the bill, and it is still working its way through the committee process, so I am quite sure there will be lots of time for all of those conversations,” said Turner. “I look forward to working with them so we can have a smooth implementation that will be beneficial to everybody.”
The measure has been assigned to the Senate Assignments Committee.
Greg Bishop contributed to this report
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February 10, 2023 at 05:33PM