(CBS) — Chicago Police in the Shakespeare District on the North Side will wear body cameras starting this week as part of a pilot program. The pilot will last six to eight weeks and then it will be evaluated by police brass.
CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reports Chicago cops will be testing body cams clipped to an officers uniform and also point of view cameras clipped an officer’s glasses or head gear.
“At the end of the day, the benefits are overwhelming,” Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy. “The complaints against officers drop dramatically.”
Mayor Emmanuel announced the test program in a campaign speech laying out his crime-fighting strategy. He believes cameras will increase community confidence in police.
“We’ll closely monitor this pilot program, making necessary adjustments along the way, then work to expand it over the next four years,” Emanuel said.
Body cams are expensive. McCarthy won’t say how much Chicago’s will cost, but research shows they help clear up internal investigations.
“The “we don’t know” category is generally the biggest one because it becomes a he-said, she-said,” McCarthy said. Now, it’s either it happened, or it didn’t happen.”
The mayor received a heartfelt endorsement from Cleopatra Pendleton, mother of murdered 14-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, but he says more must be done so that everyone feels safe.
“This is not just about a gun going off, it’s about stealing the youth and optimism from our kids,” he said.
The mayor also proposed expansion of the operation impact strategy, where extra police resources and extra social services are poured areas where street violence is epidemic.