The city Public Building Commission approved a plan today to connect three South Loop buildings to the city's extensive surveillance camera network.
After chairing the commission for the first time, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said it made sense to add the Chicago Board of Trade, the Chicago Federal Reserve building and the AT&T switching center to the integrated system of thousands of cameras that can be viewed at the city Office of Emergency Management and Communications.
"The camera network is part of the security and safety of the city," Emanuel said. "I think it's important that both the federal reserve that's here, the Chicago Board of Trade building, they're key buildings, they are not part of the network."
The work is eligible for a federal Homeland Security grant.
The Public Building Commission has already activated more than 3,300 cameras in the citywide network of the roughly 10,000 already connected to the OEMC. Those include cameras from the Chicago Public Schools, the police department, the Chicago Transit Authority and other agencies.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois recently described Chicagoans as among the most watched people in the country thanks to the city's network of cameras.
Emanuel, who chairs the commission as mayor, also told members he wanted to double the number of certified energy efficient city-owned buildings, an undertaking he said will create jobs and lower costs to city government.
While the mayor acknowledged budgets were tight, he said funding was available to help pay for the work. The city currently has 41 buildings designated as "Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design" certified.
"All of us face a lot of challenges with limited resources," Emanuel told the commission, which includes Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. The building commission approved a goal to double the number of such buildings.
"It creates jobs, it's energy efficiency and it will show Chicago continues to be a leader," he said.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun