All 7,000 patrol officers in the Chicago Police Department now have body cameras, a year ahead of schedule.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced this past week that the city had finished equipping its officers with the required cameras, part of an ongoing effort to improve a department that has come under intense criticism for several violent encounters with the public.
“The Chicago Police Department is rebuilding bonds with residents,” Emanuel said in a statement. “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 city says its police body camera program is the largest in the country. Scotland Yard, in London, has the largest program in the world, with 21,000 cameras in use.
— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) December 10, 2017
“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,” added Chicago Police 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.”
The city has been plagued with tension over violence by officers. The push for reform grew particularly urgent after the release of police dash cam video showing an officer fatally shooting a young man named Laquan McDonald 16 times.
Axon Body 2 camera @Chicago_Police rollout complete: “In addition to protecting the rights of the people that we serve, these devices help us take a look at what we’re doing right and where we can improve.” – Police Supt. Eddie Johnson https://t.co/00XAJQdt4q
— Axon (@axon_us) December 10, 2017
The body cameras can record eight hours of high-definition audio and video on a single charge.
The city’s cameras are provided by Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Axon Technology.