Chicago Spending $8M To Give All Officers Body Cameras

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The Chicago Police Department will spend about $8 million to buy body cameras for the rest of the force, a rollout officials unveiled yesterday though it won’t be complete for years and they aren’t sure who will get the new equipment next, the Chicago Tribune reports. Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said all officers on patrol will have the cameras by the end of 2018 but offered no specifics about when exactly they will be purchased or which officers are first in line to get them. “Next year they’ll get them, we haven’t identified the actual districts yet,” police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said when reporters pressed Johnson for more information during a news conference.

Johnson held the event to talk about the cameras two days before Mayor Rahm Emanuel is set to deliver what he has touted as a key speech on public safety, a chance for him to try to reframe the public discussion about the city’s rampant street violence and the public’s deep distrust of the police since the release of the Laquan McDonald shooting video last year. The police department started issuing body cameras to officers as part of a pilot program in the Northwest Side Shakespeare District at the beginning of 2015, and about 2,000 cameras are now in use in seven of the city’s 22 police districts. Johnson said the $8 million will buy about 5,000 additional cameras. The body cameras will come “bundled” with Tasers for officers as well.

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