The Chicago Police Department is getting serious about body cameras

From NBC 5 Chicago:

The Chicago Police Department will be deploying 2,000 additional body cameras in seven police districts by the summer, authorities announced Friday.

Chicago Police currently use about 30 body cameras in one district on the Northwest Side, where police Superintendent Eddie Johnson says complaints about officers have dropped dramatically. This is proof, according to the department, that cameras help to restore the community’s trust.

“It assures police respond appropriately, professionally, and respectfully, and it also changes behavior of citizens we encounter,” said Johnson, who wore a body camera on beat patrol Friday evening. “So far interaction with community has gone quite well,” he said.

The cameras will be used in seven of the most violent districts across Chicago, mostly concentrated on the South and West Sides, according to police. Those districts are the 14th (Shakespeare), 9th (Deering), 15th (Austin), 2nd (Wentworth), 10th (Ogden), 4th (South Chicago), and 6th (Gresham).

A push for these body cams came on the heels of dwindling public trust and controversial police encounters, like the dashcam video of the shooting death of Laquan McDonald at the hands of Chicago Police officer Jason Van Dyke. Video in that instance contradicted what officers reported occurred that night.

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Obviously, there has been a tremendous push for body cameras in the wake of recent highly publicized incidents.  Yet, so far, the only body camera evidence that I have received was in a case from Evergreen Park, a southwest suburban Cook County suburb.

In the meantime, most Chicago arrests do not have any video, dash cam or otherwise.  This move by the Chicago Police Department is a welcome one.  More transparency is always the right decision.

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