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New Body Cameras Bring Yet Undetermined Consequences

In the wake of numerous publicized police shootings of civilian suspects, the public outcry has resulted in police officers in many cities being required to wear body cameras. These cameras record the actions of police officers as they respond to calls and conduct traffic stops. The Chicago police department began using body cameras at the beginning of 2015 in the Northwest Side Shakespeare District. There are now 2,000 body cameras spread across about a third of the city's police sectors. It was recently announced that the police department would expand their use. 

5,000 Additional Body Cameras Coming To Chicago

In an article published in the Chicago Tribune, the police announced that $8 million dollars were being used to purchase 5,000 additional cameras. These cameras will furnish the remaining officers with police cameras. By the end of 2018, every commissioned officer with the Chicago police department will be wearing a body camera. The police chief stated that he felt the police cameras would help with accountability. This announcement comes on the heels of an investigation by the U.S. Justice Department into the training methods used at the Chicago Police Department.

Do Body Cameras Work?

The expansion of police body cameras is a direct response to the Justice Department's push for body cameras nationwide; however, these cameras do have their limitations. For example, there was a recent high-profile shooting in the South Shore during the night of July 28th. While the officers were wearing body cameras, the cameras weren't functioning during the shooting. The case is still open and the reason behind the malfunctioning cameras is unclear. The camera did turn on after the shooting had occurred.

What People Accused Of Crimes Need To Know

Regardless of the functionality of body cameras, those that work will offer new pieces of evidence to use in court against anyone accused of a crime. While the media attention has been focused on using body cameras to hold police accountable, their role in court cases and influencing verdicts remains to be seen.

With an unknown impact on trials, it is important for people charged with crimes to hire an attorney who understands the limitations of police body cameras. A lawyer familiar with body cameras will be able to point to holes in the efficacy of body cameras and offer the strongest criminal defense possible. At the Law Offices of Damon M. Cheronis, we have the skill and experience to address video evidence. 

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