CHICAGO — Drivers on the in and outbound Eisenhower Expressway may have noticed a new network of cameras and license plate readers. They are strategically placed to solve and hopefully end expressway shootings and catch people trafficking drugs in the area.
Officials won’t say exactly where the cameras are or exactly how many but roughly 20 or so cameras have been placed along the I-290 from downtown to the city limits. It is a stretch of road nicknamed “the Heroin Highway” because of the amount of drug trafficking that happens along on the West Side and into downtown.
It is phase one of a program by Hi-Da or the Chicago High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. It is a coalition of agencies tasked with stopping drugs and gun violence on Chicago area expressways made up of Chicago police, the Office of Emergency Management, Cook County sheriff’s office, IDOT, CDOT, state police and the DEA, among others.
The cameras have been incorporated into the OEMC network of video monitoring and will be run out of that office to help officers solve expressway shootings and try and put an end to the drugs running in and out of Chicago.
There have been 24 expressway shootings this year. Officials expect the cameras not only to help solve them but also be a deterrent. Officials said the cameras are not equipped for tracking speed.
The second phase of this program is to add cameras to other expressways as well. The cameras which are paid for with federal dollars.