New equipment, training for UIC Police

Chief Booker wearing a body cam and holding a pocket pack

“We’re making sure, as a department, that we’re ready to handle any situation,” says UIC Police Chief Kevin Booker. ­(Photo: Vibhu S. Rangavasan)

UIC Police are providing new equipment and more training to keep campus safe and officers prepared.

Ten marked patrol cars are now equipped with additional bulletproof vests, pocket packs and an in-car video system with an accompanying body camera.

The purchases, made during the summer because of concerns over violence taking place nationwide, will protect officers and help improve campus safety, UIC Police Chief Kevin Booker said.

New bulletproof vests can stop high-powered rifle rounds, where the station’s older vests could not.

“If officers go to a scene or get in a situation, they will be able to throw on [the new] vests and comfortably say that they will be safe,” Booker said.

video camera in UIC police vehicle

New video systems were added to patrol cars. ­(Photo: Vibhu S. Rangavasan)

Pocket packs include basic emergency medical equipment such as hemostatic gauze, gloves, compression dressing and a tourniquet, supplies that can prevent hemorrhaging or death in times where “seconds are precious,” Booker added.

New UIC Police video systems include in-car cameras capable of recording 1080p full high-definition video and body cameras with 720p high-definition recording.

Evidence is captured from patrol cars from five different angles: forward, the right and left sides, the rear and the back seat of the vehicle. Cameras on vehicles can also record in low lighting and feature a 360x digital zoom. The system has three automatic triggers, such as vehicle impact, speed and officers turning on the light bar, and police can activate video and audio recording from the vehicle and body cameras. All video is wirelessly downloaded when cars return to the UIC Police Station.

Implemented in early August, the system has already been put to use during stops for drivers who are under the influence.

“It’s the best practice in law enforcement to have in-car video systems…video speaks volumes,” Booker said.

Additional training for scenarios such as active threat, crowd control and civil disobedience is ongoing. In-house, certified trainers normally conduct annual training for active threat tactical courses over three days, but last month, the department began a new three-step evolution of the program, which is composed of a refresher course, active threat tabletop exercises and a full active threat scenario. Crowd control and civil disobedience training will take place this month.

All other training is continuous to keep officers “ahead of the curve,” Booker said.

“We’re making sure, as a department, that we’re ready to handle any situation.”

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