Chicago Police DepartmentGeneral Order G03-05
Video Surveillance Technology
Issue Date:22 February 2012Effective Date:22 February 2012
Rescinds:Version dated 14 April 2011; G11-03
Index Category:Field Operations
  • A.The use of video surveillance technology can provide members with an invaluable instrument to increase their safety and enhance criminal prosecution by providing powerful evidence of criminal activity. Consistent with the mission of the Chicago Police Department, the Department will implement video surveillance technology as part of its anti-crime strategy to:
    • 1.enhance public safety and security in public areas, while reducing the fear of crime.
    • 2.prevent, deter, and identify criminal activity, identify suspects, and gather evidence.
    • areas of gang and narcotics activity on the public way. Target areas are identified using information gathered from narcotics-related calls for service, public-violence incidents, community input and complaints, and Department analysis and intelligence. Taken together, this information provides a clear picture of the areas in greatest need of police video surveillance.
    • 4.observe prescheduled public events for approved investigative purposes (e.g., Taste of Chicago, parades, protests).
    • 5.assist districts, units, and tactical personnel in criminal investigations (e.g., narcotics, thefts, covert operations).
    • 6.respond to major critical incidents.
    • 7.document officer conduct during citizen interactions and police actions to safeguard the rights of the public and police officers, protect against unwarranted citizen complaints, and limit civil liabilities.
    • 8.reduce the cost and impact of crime to a community.
    • 9.improve the allocation and deployment of Department resources.
  • B.The use of video surveillance technology will be conducted in a professional and ethical manner, within accepted legal concepts regarding privacy. All information and recorded images obtained through the use of video surveillance technology will be used strictly for law enforcement purposes and will be preserved with utmost integrity and confidentiality consistent with Department policy and legal rules governing the handling of evidence and criminal justice records.
  • C.The design, implementation, and enhancement of any Department video surveillance technology will recognize legal parameters that both limit and expand the use of cameras in the public space.
  • A.Department members will receive training concerning the First Amendment, the Fourth Amendment, consent-to-search issues, and the proper operation of the video surveillance equipment prior to being authorized to use any Department-authorized video surveillance technology.
  • B.When using any video surveillance technology, Department members will:
    • 1.only use Department-approved equipment and have a proper law enforcement purpose. No unauthorized recording, viewing, reproduction, retention, or distribution is permitted.
    • 2.conform to all laws applicable to the use of video surveillance technology, including viewing and recording images consistent with the First and Fourth Amendment.
    • 3.only monitor public areas and public activities where no legally protected reasonable expectation of privacy exists (e.g., street, sidewalk, park).
    • 4.except while investigating a crime committed by a person whose description is known, not base an investigation or the use of video enhancement or tracking capabilities on individual characteristics or classifications including, but not limited to, race, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, or disability.
      Department members will continue to adhere to the polices and guidelines outlined in the Department directives entitled "Prohibition Regarding Racial Profiling and Other Bias-Base Policing" and "The First Amendment and Police Actions."
    • 5.follow the procedures outlined in the video surveillance technology training.
  • C.The appropriate bureau chief may authorize the use of additional video surveillance technology or deviations from this policy by specialized units under their command provided that the technology and/or deviations are in compliance with all laws applicable to the use of video surveillance technology, including viewing and recording images consistent with the First and Fourth Amendment.
    • 1.This authorization will be in the form of a unit-level directive providing specific justifications and the recommended usage, retention, and auditing guidelines.
    • 2.Copies of this authorization will be maintained in each bureau with copies forwarded to Public Safety Information Technology and the Office of Legal Affairs.
  • D.Supervisors commanding Department members assigned to use video surveillance technology will:
    • 1.monitor subordinates to ensure the video surveillance technology is utilized according to all legal requirements, procedures set in this directive, and the training provided. Any discrepancies or conflicts will be brought to the attention of the station supervisor or designated unit supervisor for resolution.
    • 2.appropriately document the monitoring of video surveillance technology usage including any instances of additional training, corrective measures, or disciplinary actions.
(Items indicated by italic/double underline were added or revised)
Garry F. McCarthy
Superintendent of Police
10-175/12-003 mwk/TRH