The Aurora, Illinois, Police Department recently unveiled new technology to boost police accountability and transparency after violent clashes between police and protesters in 2020.
The Chicago metro area department demonstrated the multimillion-dollar technology at its Critical Incident Intelligence Center. The department showcased its 150 new Tasers that emit warning sounds when activated, 315 body cameras worn by the entire force and 150 dashcams that can be monitored in real-time at the station.
Police say the technology is intended to protect officers as well as the public.
“When there’s a serious situation that happens they’ll have some live video from the scene of what is happening, some real-time information that they wouldn’t have if they were driving to the scene or just listening on the radio,” Lieutenant Bryan Handell said.
In total, the equipment cost roughly $4 million. Officials say the purchase is part of an investment by the city to reform policing following the summer 2020 riots by equipping every officer with a body camera. The department has also used the funds to review its use-of-force and training policies.
Police say the new technology will help foster trust between officers and the community.
“The reality is seeing is believing. Now, body cameras allow the public to trust what the officer is saying or what the officer is experiencing at that time. It also gives our officers a level of protection to police against false accusations. So, I think it’s a win-win,” Aurora Police Chief Keith Cross said.
Police say they intended to roll out the technology sooner but the pandemic has led to supply chain delays.