Chicago to expand police body-camera program

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CHICAGO — The Chicago Police Department will expand the use of body cameras on officers, the city said in a statement Saturday.

According to a press release by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy, an additional six districts will begin using the cameras by the middle of next year. The cameras are typically worn on officers’ clothing and are used to capture sound and video from various police activities.

“Improving public safety and making Chicago a safer city has been one of my highest priorities,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel, according to the release.

The police department will purchase new cameras that can record up to 72 hours on a single battery charge in high-definition, the statement said. The cameras can also double as an in-vehicle recording device.

The city currently is using as a pilot program police body cameras in Logan Square, Bucktown and Wicker Park, as well as parts of Avondale and Humboldt Park. The city says more than 4,600 videos have been captured totaling more than 745 hours.

The cameras are being used for “routine calls for service, investigatory stops, traffic stops, emergency vehicle response and evidence collection,” the city says.

New test sites will be announced in the next few days, according to the statement.