Project Shield was supposed to make citizens safer. But in the end, the $45-million Homeland Security program more resembled a disaster, wasting taxpayers’ dollars and failing to make a single citizen more secure.
The failed Cook County initiative was replete with equipment that failed to work, missing records and untrained first responders according to a report by the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The report, to be released Monday but obtained by The Sun-Times and NBC5 News, found “millions of tax dollars may have been wasted.”
Under Project Shield, two police squad cars in all 128 Cook County suburbs were to be fitted with cameras capable of feeding live video to a central command. In addition, fixed mounted cameras were to be installed to feed pictures in case of a terrorist attack or emergency in Cook County.
A six-month investigation by the IG found “equipment was not working, was removed, or could not be properly operated.”
Investigators visited 15 municipalities between January and June last year and found “missing records, improper procurement practices, unallowable costs and unaccountable inventory items.”