Cameras Will Aid Investigations in Expressway Shootings
This week, Illinois State Police (ISP), in cooperation with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) began installing license plate reading cameras on Chicago area expressways.
Earlier this year, the ISP received a $12.5 million grant for purchase of specialized cameras to read the license plate numbers of vehicles moving in traffic. The installations will also include a communication system to backhaul the video images to a central location where additional software is used to query and match license plates to existing license plate and vehicle databases.
“This investment in expressway cameras further strengthens the Illinois State Police’s ability to hold violent offenders accountable and fulfill our mission to help all Illinois residents live safely,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Our roadways should be connections between communities, not crime scenes, and the ISP will offer the additional support necessary to local law enforcement in Chicago to protect traveling residents.”
“This is an important step toward expanding force-multiplying technology we have long needed to protect the public traveling on Chicago expressways,” said ISP Director Brendan F. Kelly. “These cameras will be an increasingly important tool for the ISP to collect the evidence we need to detect and deter crime on our interstates.”
As of Thursday, there were 157 reported shootings on Chicago area expressways in 2021.
The ISP continues to work with IDOT and CDOT to assist with the installation of more than 200 license plate reader cameras over the next year. The images from these cameras will not be used for petty offenses, such as speeding.
Increasingly, we’ve seen shootings throughout the Chicagoland expressways, and I am glad that we will now have the access to technology that will aid in the investigation of expressway shootings,” said State Senator Napoleon Harris, III (D-Harvey). “With these innovations, I hope many crimes are solved and brought to justice, so that the victims’ families may know peace.”
“Thank you, Governor Pritzker, for providing comfort and confidence to the victims of expressway shootings. I empathize with the family of Tamara Clayton, her sister Alma Hill, and other family members for enduring the time it took to erect these cameras,” said State Rep. Thaddeus M. Jones (D-Calumet City). “Governor Pritzker, Deputy Governor Christian Mitchell, ISP Director Kelly, and IDOT must be commended for their hard work in making sure that we provide ISP with the tools to capture the individuals who are shooting on our expressways. I would like to invite the public to join forces with ISP, and all law enforcement, and immediately report any person who intentionally targets any human being on our expressways, so we can stop these horrible shootings.”
“I am gratified today to see that the Illinois State Police and Illinois Department of Transportation have taken another step to enact the Tamara Clayton Expressway Camera Act,” said Sen. Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago), the bill’s sponsor. “It is our duty as a state to protect people who travel our roads. It’s my hope that the addition of these cameras will deter further crime. We cannot become numb to this daily reality of being at the mercy of gun violence in any place, at any time, at random.”
The Tamara Clayton Expressway Camera Act (Expressway Camera Act) was signed into law on July 12, 2019 and became effective on Jan. 1, 2020. Ms. Clayton was on her way to work on Feb. 4, 2019 when she was tragically shot and killed while driving on Interstate 57 near Cicero Avenue. ISP investigators responded and the investigation into her death remains open and ongoing.
Following the state procurement process, Motorola was selected as the vendor for the camera system.