OIG Public Safety Section Finds the Chicago Police Department Has Not Complied with Requirements for Body-Worn Camera Random Reviews

The Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) Public Safety Section has issued a report regarding the Chicago Police Department’s (CPD) non-compliance with the review of randomly selected body-worn camera (BWC) recordings. CPD Special Order S03-14 requires watch operations lieutenants (WOLs) to review one recording daily, across all watches. These reviews enable CPD supervisors to assess whether officers are properly using BWCs and conducting themselves according to CPD policy.

In addition to failing to complete all required random reviews from November 2017 through March 2018 in seven districts, CPD also failed to implement a standardized process for randomly selecting recordings for review, and did not provide guidance, standards, or training for WOLs. Furthermore, CPD’s BWC Program Evaluation Committee, tasked with ensuring compliance and evaluating program effectiveness, did not initially hold quarterly meetings as required.

OIG recommended several corrective measures to come into full compliance. CPD acknowledged the need to improve compliance and identified steps it has taken or is planning to take to address OIG’s recommendations. However, CPD did not provide a timeline for implementing the automation of its random review process. Until that is implemented, the effectiveness of the random review process may continue to be compromised.

“Body-worn cameras are an important tool in promoting better, more accountable policing and public understanding of the challenges of officers in the field. Formulating policy for their use and putting them into operation—itself still a work in progress as they are not yet in use for all field operational personnel—are necessary but not sufficient conditions for assuring full and effective implementation and compliance with policy,” said Inspector General Joe Ferguson. “That additionally requires full compliance with robust, periodic, standardized internal accountability and evaluative mechanisms. Our review revealed that on this latter front, CPD management fell substantially short of its own mark. CPD has acknowledged as much and has committed to correcting these shortcomings. At this moment in the City’s history, building public confidence in the Department to improve public safety outcomes requires no less.”

The full report can be found on our website.

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The mission of the independent and non-partisan City of Chicago Office of Inspector General (OIG) is to promote economy, effectiveness, efficiency, and integrity by identifying corruption, waste, and mismanagement in City government. OIG is a watchdog for the taxpayers of the City and has jurisdiction to conduct investigations and audits into most aspects of City government. If you see corruption, fraud, or waste of any kind, we need to hear from you. For more information, visit our website at: igchicago.org.