New Toys, Same Old Thugs-Chicago

Kaye Beach

Feb.21, 2010

The Windy City has eyes.

You might think that all of these cameras would help curb police abuse at least somewhat. Apparently not. The citizens of the Windy City are disarmed, tracked by a networked system of CCTV and ALPR (Automatic License Plate Recorders), Facial recognition technology has been added and yet Chicago citizens are some of the most frequently abused in the nation.

Chicago’s Camera Network Is Everywhere

Extensive Surveillance System Integrates Non police Video, Raises Concerns About Possible Privacy Abuses

The city links the 1,500 cameras that police have placed in trouble spots with thousands more—police won’t say how many—that have been installed by other government agencies and the private sector in city buses, businesses, public schools, subway stations, housing projects and elsewhere. Even home owners can contribute camera feeds.

Rajiv Shah, an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago who has studied the issue, estimates that 15,000 cameras have been connected in what the city calls Operation Virtual Shield, its fiber-optic video-network loop. Read More


IBM’s New Software to Autonomously Monitor Security Cameras

Starting this summer several thousands of surveillance cameras in Chicago’s Operation Virtual Shield system will begin to be watched by IBM’s new monitoring software called Smart Surveillance Solution. This new software is designed to analyze video sequences in real time from security cameras and monitor events through multiple sensors such as video cameras or audio inputs. This software provides several advantages over traditional video monitoring solutions, which only record and save the data locally or need to be monitored manually by hired employees.

The Smart Surveillance Solution provides real-time alerts by identifying predetermined suspicious behaviors and can help anticipate incidents such as robberies, vandalism, and theft. This video monitoring software also incorporates license plate recognition in parking lots and face capture in lobbies to ensure everyone has been identified Read More


Chicago Police Abuse Cases Exceed Average

CHICAGO, Nov. 14 — Chicago police officers are the subject of more brutality complaints per officer than the national average, and the Police Department is far less likely to pursue abuse cases seriously than the national norm, a legal team at the University of Chicago reported Wednesday (2007)


The Nation

February 11, 2008|P.J. Huffstutter , Times Staff Writer

In the last six months, an officer used a Taser on an 82-year-old woman in her home, a federal jury awarded $4 million to a man who said he was sodomized by an officer with a screwdriver during a search, and the Police Board overrode recommendations to fire an officer who was seen on a security tape beating a suspect handcuffed in a wheelchair — and who later lied about his actions.

“This isn’t just about a few cases of police misconduct,” said Grant Newburger, 50, one of the outraged community leaders at a recent board meeting. “This is about changing a culture that for years has been abusive.”

Chicago Police Misconduct Allegations Increase by Nearly 19%

2009 The Independent Police Review Authority is reporting a nearly 19% increase in the number of complaints alleging Chicago police misconduct. The rise began in March when the number of complaints went up from about 2,300 complaints every three months to 2,600 complaints and then approximately 2,800 complaints.



Chicago Police Department Issues New ‘Deadly Force’ Policy Allowing Cops to Shoot at Fleeing Vehicles

Chicago Police Department (C.P.D.) Superintendent Jody Weis issued a new “deadly force” policy allowing cops to arbitrarily shoot drivers and passengers in vehicles to go into effect after this weekend.

“Effective next Monday, police officers will be able to fire their guns under circumstances where they previously could not,”

“It gives department members the option of taking off a dangerous member, someone who has either created or committed a serious offense or could commit a serious offense if he or she is allowed to flee the scene.” (emphasis mine)

Mr. Drew said that whether or not someone “could commit a serious offense” is “up to the discretion” of the C.P.D. “member” As for the “discretion of the member”, a ‘C.P.D. member’ shocked Lillian Fletcher — an 82-year-old, 5″1′ grandmother — with his Taser, sending 50,000 volts at her in 2007. Less than a year ago, a man fled from a ‘CPD member’ and was killed when the ‘member’ tased him. The man was being apprehended for drinking from an open bottle.

Read More



Chicago Police Brutality: Traffic Management Authority Supervisor Awarded Over $1.5 Million

A jury has awarded a Chicago Traffic Management Authority supervisor over $1.5 million for police brutality. Jacqueline Fegan had accused four Chicago cops of causing her permanent injury on May 18, 2006 when she was handcuffed and thrown into a police motor vehicle because she wouldn’t toss out a parking ticket.

[. . . ]As she returned to her car, Reid allegedly said “You people better never meet us… even jaywalk.” Fegan says she was then handcuffed and arrested for jaywalking. She claims Reid allegedly pulled her arms back before cuffing her.

Fegan, who underwent wrist surgery, is on unpaid medical leave


While a policy of transparency is in effect in Chicago, it is a one sided view. Accountability for police misconduct is the worst in the nation and citizens and journalists are railing against the city for its lack of responsiveness to requests for information.


Chicago Freedom of Information?

The current status of public access to criminal justice related data could only be characterized as ridiculous and strewn with bureaucratic roadblocks and an extreme level of agency level secrecy.  The Chicago Police Department regards their obligations under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act as a choice rather than legally required.

The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office does not publish an annual report leaving voters and policy makers alike little choice but to guess at how the office actually operates.   The Cook County Circuit Clerk’s Office’s computer system that allows the public to search cases in person at their office is less user friendly and efficient than my old 1980s Commodore 64.  There is no ability for a community member, researcher, or policy maker to track a case across the width and breath of the system, maybe not even within an agency. The current level of information access within the criminal justice system in Chicago and Cook County has not just happened through chance.  It is a choice.  Not one of the three agencies have put any significant resources towards digitizing their operations in a manner that would increase public access.   The criminal justice agencies in Chicago and Cook County have chosen to shield their data from public access and prefer to use friendly media outlets to put information on display for the public in a manner that is least empowering as possible.


Chicago. Utterly Transparent (but only from the inside)

CHICAGO, IL – 27 Sep 2007: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced a new project with the City of Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) to implement one of the most advanced city-wide intelligent security system ever conceived. The engagement is a part of Chicago’s Operation Virtual Shield, a project that encompasses one of the world’s largest video security deployments.

In collaboration with its business partners Firetide and Genetec, IBM has successfully deployed the infrastructure build-out for Operation Virtual Shield with plans to expand the network throughout the city. In the first phase, IBM helped the City experts and network engineers to design and implement a surveillance strategy infrastructure to capture, monitor and fully index video for real-time and forensic-related safety applications. This entailed building a unified fiber network throughout the downtown Chicago area, deploying a critical wireless infrastructure to offer flexibility as required, installing hundreds of new surveillance cameras, linking thousands of preexisting cameras to the network, and creating a fully redundant backend system to monitor the video, store the images and allow for business continuity and disaster recovery applications.

The Chicago OEMC and IBM are now teaming to expand the surveillance system and to add analytics that provide license plate recognition, trending projections and intelligent search capabilities to the existing infrastructure. Chicago’s security solution is designed to provide several benefits to both city officials and citizens including: real-time video surveillance intelligence for proactive homeland security monitoring; faster response time to emergencies; more effective deployment of emergency responders; and increased travel efficiency through traffic congestion tracking.

“Mayor Richard M. Daley has had, for many years, a grand plan to incorporate cameras from public entities and private sector businesses into a single unified system allowing first responders access to real time visual data,” said Tony Ruiz, Executive Director of Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications. “IBM is helping enable the City of Chicago’s vision for intelligent security.”

Operation Virtual Shield was designed to allow advanced detection and notification systems such as IBM’s Smart Surveillance Solution to be plugged-in and tuned as necessary to address new threats. The Smart Surveillance Solution deployment with Chicago is a first-of-a-kind implementation to help bring intelligence to city security. This concept was sparked by the power and capabilities of the City’s existing high-tech multi-million dollar command and control center. The surveillance network is designed to allow city officials to monitor such mundane activities as traffic patterns on a day-to-day basis, while also being able to detect suspicious activity and potential public safety concerns from a centrally monitored system.

“Cities today are faced with ever-increasing threats and advanced security surveillance systems can be a critical component in ensuring safety,” said Mike Daniels, senior vice president, IBM Global Technology Services. “IBM is proud to be a part of Operation Virtual Shield and the City of Chicago’s visionary approach to homeland security.”

One key factor to the success of the project is Firetide, an IBM business partner whose wireless network infrastructure supports a wide range of fixed and mobile wireless public safety applications including covert and overt video surveillance, traffic control, VoIP communications, and rapid database access.

IBM chose Genetec’s Omnicast as the main video management platform for building the Operation Virtual Shield system. Omnicast is the most advanced IP-based video surveillance recording software in the industry. Genetec’s Omnicast incorporates virtually any type of camera be it IP-based, or analog via encoders, on to a common platform. In addition, Omnicast allows products such as IBM’s Smart Surveillance Solution to be easily integrated into the system. This capability along with Omnicast’s ability to integrate other Genetec fixed or mobile systems throughout the City will allow the Smart Surveillance Solution to analyze video streams multiple cameras, anywhere no matter if it is a sister agency camera or one from a private enterprise.

Coming Soon to YOUR Town!

Accountability for abusive officers is remarkably poor.

We have been told that giving up some of our liberty is necessary for security. Chicago has become a fishbowl and I am not seeing any bargain in it at all for the people.

Is it too much to ask to just be left the heck alone?

From the Tenth Amendment Center;

A Great Moment in Our History

The long history of the world, very few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its maximum hour of danger. This is that moment and you are that generation!  Now is the time to defend our freedoms.

Jefferson was no saint but he was the greatest of our American presidents.  He believed that the individual was greater than the state.  He believed that the states were greater than the federal government.  And when he wrote that our rights come from our creator, and that our rights are inalienable, he forever wed the notion of natural rights to the American experience and the American experiment.  We must be vigilant about every right that the government wants to take away from us.

You’ve heard the president say, present president and his predecessor, “my first job is to keep you safe.”  He’s wrong!  His first job is to keep us free.  It is his only job to keep us free.

Shortly before he died, Jefferson lamented, that in his view of the world that is was in the natural order of things for government to grow and freedom to be diminished; how ardently he wish that that wouldn’t happen. And in order to prevent it from happening he had a very simple remedy, “When the people fear the government, that is tyranny.  When the government fears the people, that is liberty!”

Great overview of what (still) ails Chicago;

Chicago’s Thick Blue Wall

The Windy City’s notoriously aggressive police department fights for less accountability.


One response to “New Toys, Same Old Thugs-Chicago

  1. I hope this can be resolved in the right way so as not to disadvantage any party

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