By Lorraine Swanson, patch.com
More than 450 body cameras are on their way to Chicago as part of the Chicago Police Department’s body-worn camera pilot program.
Officers and supervisors in all three shifts in seven participating police districts in the pilot program will wear the cameras. The cameras can record audio and high definition video, and save up to 72-hours on a single charge.
The body camera pilot program has already been introduced in the Shakespeare Police District 14, and is set to roll out in Austin, Wentworth, Deering, Ogden, South Chicago and Gresham, covering one-third of the city.
During the first phase of the pilot program, CPD says citizen complaints against police were drastically reduced merely by the presence of a camera. Interim Superintendent Eddie Johnson plans to wear a body camera when he is out on patrol, and has asked his command staff to do the same.
Johnson said the cameras illustrate CPD’s commitment to rebuilding community trust.
“Body cameras are one tool that the police department uses to serve and protect the people of Chicago,” Johnson in a CPD news release. “They play an important role in not just fighting crime, but also in learning from actual encounters with the public.”
The police department is upgrading its technological capabilities so that video can uploaded and stored at the end of each shift. The first camera are anticipated to be online later this spring and rolling out in the six police districts throughout the summer.
CPD is also training and equipping police officers with a Taser as part of its commitment to create the safest environment possible for officers and residents. Starting June 1, every officer responding to 911 calls will be equipped with the a Taser, the police department says.