On November 29, 2015, the city of Chicago announced that beginning in the spring, there would be an expansion of police body cameras into six police districts, including the district that includes most of Hyde Park.
“Increasing public safety, improving transparency, and building trust in our police department are three key priorities, and the expansion of the body camera program is a significant step forward for each,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in the announcement.
A pilot program began last January in which the Chicago Police Department (CPD) tested 30 cameras in the Shakespeare District on the North Side. This year, the program will spread to six more police districts: the West Side’s Austin and Ogden districts and the South Side’s Deering, Gresham, South Chicago, and Wentworth districts. Most of Hyde Park is in the Wentworth district.
A recent CPD internal review found that 80 percent of dashcams do not properly record audio and 12 percent lacked proper video capabilities.
According to the CPD, there have been positive results of increased body camera use. “In addition to protecting police officers and citizens, cameras have been shown to reduce citizen complaints against police and are great tools for evidence gathering and training,” CPD Superintendent Garry McCarthy said in the November statement.
The expansion of the program was announced shortly after the release of a video showing the shooting of Laquan McDonald by a CPD officer. The police vehicle cameras, also known as dashcams, captured a CPD officer shooting the 17-year-old 16 times but failed to record audio.