Chicago police ahead of the curve on use of body cameras
Police cameras have become part of the uniform for Chicago patrol officers.
An announcement by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said camera-equipped officers in Chicago are the largest utilization of the technology in the country.
“Technology can support accountability and transparency, but it is just a tool,” Emanuel said in a city release. “When accompanied by philosophies of community policing, these tools can be used to create teachable moments that strengthen safety and trust in every neighborhood.
Most recently, police districts including Calumet, Near West, Albany Park and Grand Central have embraced the body camera wave, bringing to more than 7,000 the number of police personnel equipped with the cameras that are worn on the body.
The body camera program was developed to help fight crime while increasing transparency, according to a recent press statement. With the presence of cameras, the accountability and safety that the technology provides can help bridge the trust gap between officers and the community, advocates say.
“The completed expansion of body cameras to our patrol officers marks an important day in our continued work to foster transparency, while also providing our officers greater resources,” Johnson said in the city release. “These devices have played a large role in protecting the rights of the citizens we serve and have shown firsthand the dangers CPD officers face every day to make Chicago safer.”
The lightweight, sturdy devices are capable of recording up to eight hours of audio and video. Video footage can be stored to be used as court evidence, according to the release.