No body cams for the Chicago cops guarding Mayor Rahm Emanuel's house
The Chicago Police Department is committed to supplying body-worn cameras (BWCs) to its patrol officers "to [protect] the safety and welfare of the public." There is only one glaring exception: the cops guarding Mayor Rahm Emanuel's house.
This is one of the devices:
Jonathan Lewin, deputy chief of technology for the Chicago Police Department, holds up one of the body cameras purchased by CPD (Nancy Stone / Chicago Tribune).
Chicago police officers who are assigned to sit outside ... Mayor Rahm Emanuel's home at 4228 North Hermitage have been ordered to not work with the body-worn cameras (BWC) that other officers are required to wear. News of the development came this morning on the Second City Cop blog.
Now, CWBChicago has learned that the no-camera order was issued by someone who "out-ranks" 19th District Commander and BWC champion Marc Buslik. Whether that person is a police executive or a member of the mayor's office was not immediately clear.
Oddly enough, the CPD issued a "special order" last October that said nothing about the mayor's house being a no-BWC zone:
The [d]epartment is committed to protecting the safety and welfare of the public as well as its members. Audio and visual recordings from the body-worn camera (BWC) can improve the quality and reliability of investigations and increase transparency. Members will be trained prior to the assignment and utilization of the BWC. If a member assigned a BWC is in a vehicle equipped with an in-car video system, the member will follow both the In-Car Video Systems directive and this directive. Any member who knowingly fails to comply with this directive will be subject to progressive discipline, training, or other remedial action according to current Department policies. The definitions of various terms used in this directive are in Section XII. B. The Department does not intend to utilize the BWC to discipline members for isolated minor [d]epartmental rule infractions consistent with the Illinois Officer-Worn Body Camera Act (50 ILCS 706/10) and the [d]epartment directive titled Complaint and Disciplinary Procedures.
I have no idea what lies behind this exception ordered by a mysterious high-ranking individual. Does the mayor believe that BWCs inhibit effective police protection of his family's residence? Or is something else at play?
The always interesting Second City Cop blog, which often reflects the street-level view of the Windy City men and women in blue, has an interesting theory that has nothing at all to do with police behavior:
[W]hy wouldn't the powers that be want cameras on Rahm's block? Perhaps the mayor isn't spending the requisite amount of time at his "residence" to maintain eligibility for the next election? We did hear a rumor that the wedding dress left town a while back, so there would actually have to be a body living in the house.
Does anyone remember when intrepid reporters would actually follow pols and camp out somewhere to get video of corrupt practices? Now they just re-write City Hall press releases and troll blogs for stories.
Something is up, and the citizens of Chicago deserve to know what that is.