Preckwinkle Scraps Failed — And Costly — Homeland Security Program

CHICAGO (CBS) — Cook County is doing away with a 7-year-old program to, among other things, equip suburban police cars and fire trucks with cameras.

The $44 million dollar Project Shield is under investigation by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security and the cameras have never really worked.

The word “inept” came up over and over again as County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced Project Shield is done.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Mike Krauser Reports

Preckwinkle said the program was mismanaged from the start under her predecessor, former County Board President Todd Stroger.

“I can’t speak to their corruption, that’s for others to decide. Its surely ineptitude,” Preckwinkle said. “As a program, Project Shield fails on all accounts.”

She said there was waste and mismanagement under Stroger, but stopped short of saying it was criminal. But she fired David Ramos, who ran the program under Stroger.

“His leadership was inept and … his actions were at best inappropriate,” she said.

Cook County Homeland Security chief Michael Masters said that so little thought went into camera placement under the program that lives could be at risk.

“The deployment of the airbags may cause the equipment to be violently displaced as a projectile,” he said.

It’s also prohibitively expensive, considering the cameras don’t work, according to Masters.

“This system costs about $65,000 per vehicle, almost three times the wholesale value of a squad car,” he said.

The county is still paying a contractor, Johnson Controls Inc., nearly $200,000 a month under the program. The county is now demanding details about what the contractor is doing for the money.

  • Joe Patroni

    Why not a simple dash board camera one can easily purchase for less than $100 on Amazon? Good for her.

    • g-man

      Because when it is tax payer money the crooks at Crook County government will waste as much of it as possible while their friends and family make millions.

  • tom Sharp

    Oh Toni! Don’t dare use the word “criminal” or seek to prosecute these Stroger patronage pimps, Walter might get upset!

  • VIP Cook County

    Absolutely irresponsible. The people that did this should be terminated without their pension and no pay, fined and charged with criminal .misconduct by failing to manage our tax dollars, endangering the lives of law enforcement and the public.

  • smooth

    atta way Toni !!!! Keep digging and get all the waste out of Chicago

    Deal with Stroge corruption (accountability) later down the road. Stay focused on doing a good job and the right thing . We need your leadership badly.

  • otherend

    crook county and pity of chicago wasted tax dollars give us our money back

  • Cotizen for a Livable Chicago

    When the investigation starts, they will find out that the person put in charge of millions of dollars for this project had about as much experience as the ferris wheel operators at Navy Pier. But, then that’s Cook County government.

  • Gerald Spencer

    This project was the focus of a report, years ago, it was a failure then and money was being stolen hand over fist, why did it continue under Stroger?

  • Centurion

    YOU CAN’T DO THIS! Patrick Daley is supposed to receive MILLIONS of dollars in consulting fees because…since he was in the Army, he is now an expert. What about Vanecko Inc. They are supposed to become consultants on this project. The firm of Dewey, Cheatam, and Howe is working with Ald Burke to provide consulting for bodyguard services.

    Oh Ms. Preckwinkle….how dare you be honest.

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