Most of us who drive on the Eisenhower Expressway going in or out of Chicago are too focused on the traffic to think about being watched as we navigate the busy roadway. News reports about the installation of 20 high-tech surveillance cameras along the expressway mean that it is time to think about being observed by authorities.
Chicago law enforcement officials say the cameras will be used to prosecute drug-traffickers on what has dubbed “Heroin Highway.”
Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said, “Video provided by these cameras will have the potential to aid in the prosecution of criminals. Few things are quite as convincing to a jury as video footage of a crime.”
The license-plate-reading cameras were funded by a federal law enforcement grant, but will be operated by the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications. The cameras will not be used to track drivers speeding on the Eisenhower, officials said.
The head of the federal government’s Chicago High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program said the devices were installed in “strategic locations” near entrance and exit ramps. More cameras will be added on other main thoroughfares in coming months as part of federal and local law enforcement efforts to crack down on drug trafficking, with an emphasis on the distribution of opiates such as heroin and fentanyl.
“The drug trafficking and the often-related gun violence occurring on the Eisenhower Expressway has a detrimental effect on all citizens of Chicago,” the head of the High Intensity program said.
Those who face state or federal drug trafficking allegations should decline to speak to police or prosecutors until after they have discussed evidence and charges with a Chicago criminal defense attorney.