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All Chicago Police Officers Will Wear Bodycams By The End Of 2017

By Stephen Gossett in News on Dec 28, 2016 3:56PM

Washington DC Metropolitan Police Officer Debra Domino wears one of the new 'body-worn cameras' that the city's officers will begin using during a press conference announcing the details of the program September 24, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Update, 11:55 p.m.:
In the formal announcement, Mayor Emanuel said the bodycam program was not a cure-all, but served a positive purpose for those on either side of law enforcement. “Body cameras, while not a panacea, are a win-win for officers and the public,” said Emanuel in a press release. “They provide a firsthand look at the dangerous situations officers encounter on a daily basis, and improve transparency while building trust.”

Superintendent Johnson echoed the sentiment, adding, in part, “The citywide use of body worn cameras within the Chicago Police Department will provide a greater sense of self-awareness to both officers and the individuals that they interact with."

The Chicago Police Department plans to ramp up its bodycam program and by having all officers wear body cameras by the end of 2017, according to multiple news reports. The new target date is a full year sooner than the previously announced goal.

The department first rolled out the bodycam initiative in January 2015, with a select number of officers wearing the devices. Superintendent Eddie Johnson announced in September of this year that an $8 million expansion would see all patrol officers equipped with camera by the end of 2018—a timeline which will now be pushed forward.

The public release of the Laquan McDonald dascham footage sparked calls for extending the use of officer bodycams. The action captured in the video differs starkly from some officer testimony. Earlier this year, police released bodycam footage that showed the moments surrounding the death of 18-year-old Paul O’Neal, including some dreadful officer reactions. The Department of Justice continues the investigation of CPD it launched in the wake of the McDonald scandal.

The Mayor's Office emailed preliminary news about the accelerated expansion to local TV news stations overnight. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Superintendent Johnson are expected to make a formal announcement on Wednesday.