Cook County Pulls Plug on Project Shield
Cook County, IL officials on Thursday pulled the plug on a troubled $44 million effort that left faulty cameras in police cars.
A review of Project Shield by County Board President Toni Preckwinkle's team found an "ill-conceived, poorly designed and badly executed" program that put the lives of emergency responders in danger, said Michael Masters, the new director of the county's Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
The $65,000 cameras not only don't work, but block air bags in the cars, he said.
There are 138 cars equipped with the cameras, and county officials have advised suburban police departments to stop using the cars until the equipment can be inspected, said a Chicago Tribune report.
Other cameras placed at locations throughout the county were meant to detect crime and terrorism. But many police chiefs believe the locations chosen didn't make much sense, the report said.
The program started under the late County Board President John Stroger after the federal government made money available in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, a former county commissioner, has requested a federal audit into spending on Project Shield, and the FBI has "expressed interest," the report said.