Allegations that a Chicago police sergeant mistreated a state senator have prompted the department to buy 30 video cameras it plans to install in squad cars by mid-October to record traffic stops, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. The department settled on a system made by Texas-based Coban Research and Technologies. The department is combining a $150,000 state grant with another $60,000 in city funding to pay for the cameras. They will be installed in marked cars a district where the senator said he was a victim of racial profiling last year. The sergeant was reprimanded for using foul language.
The city will seek additional state funding to install video cameras in 1,670 other marked squad cars. Cameras will be mounted on the windshield, record images at least 16 feet away in low-light situations and allow officers to leave their cars and roam at least 500 feet with a wireless microphone. A hardwired mike will record audio in the vehicles. The system automatically goes back and saves up to a minute of footage before an officer hits a squad car’s flashing lights to make a stop. “It’s like instant replay for police,” said a Coban employee. Other police departments that use Coban systems include Seattle, Kansas City and St. Louis County, Mo.