CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Supt. Eddie Johnson Sunday announced that every Chicago Police patrol officer in the city is now equipped with a body camera.
Calumet (5), Near West (12), Albany Park (17) and Grand Central (25) were the last police districts that needed them. Those districts’ cameras are now operational, which is one year ahead of schedule.
With this implementation, the Chicago Police Department has become the largest deployment of body worn cameras in the nation, according to Johnson. As of Sunday, there are over 7,000 operational body cameras in Chicago.
“Under Superintendent Johnson’s leadership, the Chicago Police Department is rebuilding bonds with residents,” Emanuel said during a press conference . “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.”
The body cameras can record up to eight hours of high-definition audio and video on a single charge, according to the City of Chicago.
“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 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.”
CPD initially launched a body worn camera pilot program in 2015 in the Shakespeare district (14). They expanded to six more districts in 2016. The initial rollout was planned over a two-year time span, but at the end of 2016, CPD announced the expedited expansion and completed the rollout one year ahead of schedule, the City said.
“Since then, officers have taken more than one million segments of footage.”
Body worn cameras are part of ongoing police reform efforts.