CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–November 30, 2015. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy yesterday announced that the city will expand its successful body-worn camera program into an additional six police districts by mid-2016. Body-worn cameras are small video cameras typically attached to an officer’s clothing and are used to record audio and video of certain police activities.
The program will be paid for with a $1.1 million grant from the United States Department of Justice, matched by $1.1 million in City funds. The Chicago Police Department has also applied for additional state grants to assist with camera purchases, storage, maintenance, licensing, upload stations, and program related costs.
“Improving public safety and making Chicago a safer city has been one of my highest priorities,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Expanding this successful program into one-third of the city will help enhance transparency and credibility as well as strengthen the fabric of trust that is vital between police and the community.”
The new test sites will be announced in the coming days, and beginning in February the CPD will be purchasing next-generation cameras which can record up to 72-hours on a single charge in high-definition. The new cameras can also double as an in-vehicle recording device.
Video has been essential in documenting interactions between officers and citizens, and the City is committed to increasing that capacity. The expanded body-worn camera program will include automatic equipment upgrades every 30 months to ensure officers have the best technology available.
The pilot program in its current state has been in effect since January and is currently testing 30 cameras in the Shakespeare District, which encompasses Logan Square, Bucktown and Wicker Park, as well as parts of Avondale and Humboldt Park. Since the initial roll-out, more than 4,600 videos have been captured totaling more than 745 hours. Officers are currently evaluating the cameras for routine calls for service, investigatory stops, traffic stops, emergency vehicle response and evidence collection. So far, preliminary usage and operability results are promising as the devices are helping officers in their daily work and being used to aid in criminal investigations.
“Equipping every officer with a wearable camera device allows us to harness the power of technology to better serve the people of Chicago,” said Superintendent Garry McCarthy. In addition to protecting police officers and citizens, cameras have been shown to reduce citizen complaints against police and are great tools for evidence gathering and training as they allow us to learn from actual encounters with the public.”
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