Chicago speeds up plan to equip officers with body cameras

Chicago police officers listen as Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson (C) speaks during a press conference in Chicago on September 21, 2016. Johnson announced that Chicago is to hire 970 sworn police officers to help it combat a murder epidemic that has claimed over 500 lives so far this year, the highest homicide rate of any major US city. / AFP / Nova SAFO (Photo credit should read NOVA SAFO/AFP/Getty Images)

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago authorities say all police officers will be equipped with body cameras by the end of 2017, a year ahead of schedule.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a Wednesday statement announcing the speeded up schedule that body cameras “improve transparency while building trust.”

Scrutiny of police intensified after the release of a squad-car video last year ago showing a white officer fatally shooting black teenager Laquan McDonald 16 times. The Justice Department launched a civil rights investigation and Emanuel pledged sweeping reforms. The city launched its body-camera program in 2015 and expanded it following protest over the McDonald video.

Wednesday’s statement didn’t include costs or camera numbers. But police said in September that 2,000 body cameras were in use and that 5,000 more would be bought for around $8 million.