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Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson today announced that all patrol officers in Chicago are now equipped with body cameras as part of ongoing police reform efforts. The final police districts, Calumet (5), Near West (12), Albany Park (17) and Grand Central (25), have come online – all one year ahead of schedule. With this implementation, the Chicago Police Department (CPD) has become the largest deployment of body worn cameras in the nation.
“Under Superintendent Johnson’s leadership, the Chicago Police Department is rebuilding bonds with residents,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Technology can support accountability and transparency, but it is just a tool. When accompanied by philosophies of community policing, these tools can be used to create teachable moments that strengthen safety and trust in every neighborhood.”
In total, more than 7,000 sworn CPD personnel, including all district-assigned CPD officers, tactical officers and supervisors, are now equipped with body worn cameras. The program is an integral part of the Department’s commitment to strengthen CPD’s crime fighting and investigatory tools, increase transparency and accountability, promote the safety of officers and residents, and rebuild trust with the communities that police serve.
“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,” said CPD Superintendent Eddie Johnson. “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. Moving forward we will remain committed to identifying ways we can rebuild public trust and help our officers do their jobs more effectively and safely.”
In 2015, CPD launched a body worn camera pilot in the in the Shakespeare (14) district on the Northwest Side and expanded to six more districts in 2016. While the initial rollout was planned over two years, at the end of 2016, CPD announced the expedited expansion and completed the rollout one year ahead of schedule. Since then, officers have taken more than one million segments of footage.
The body cameras are lightweight, durable and can record eight hours of high-definition audio and video on a single charge. The cameras seamlessly integrate with CPD's existing cloud-based evidence servers, assisting detectives in investigations and strengthening court cases. In preparation for widespread use of body worn cameras, police district stations have undergone infrastructure improvements to accommodate the increased bandwidth and technology associated with the AXON II cameras.