'Project Shield,' Post-9/11 Security Initiative, Riddled With Waste (VIDEO)
More than five years in the works and $12 million over budget, "Project Shield," a Cook County counterterrorism initiative, is deeply troubled, incomplete and still seeking more money despite ongoing investigations.
The key aim of the program funded by the federal Department of Homeland Security was to improve communications and decision-making in case of a terror attack, natural disaster or other major emergency here by installing new, state-of-the-art video cameras on police cars and at stationary locations throughout the county and linking them to a central command center.
All 129 municipalities in Cook County were supposed to be included in the system. But faced with problems that included cameras that didn't work properly, suburbs including Tinley Park, Berwyn, Park Ridge and Morton Grove opted out.
Today, only 76 currently have operational cameras, the investigation discovered. There are a total of 103 cameras in place, with only three more set to be installed. This is a significantly reduced total compared to original estimates, and yet the costs continue to rise.
When asked about the floundering project by Rep. Mark Kirk last week, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said her office is aware of the allegations, the Sun-Times reports.
"We are looking into it right now," Napolitano said. "I am as opposed to misspent, overspent, inefficient use of tax dollars as anyone you will ever see."
Watch NBC's report to learn more: