Chicago Police | File

Austin police district selected to participate in body camera program expansion

The Austin police district was one of six Chicago Police districts chosen to participate in a new body camera program. The department first started using the cameras in January in the Shakespeare District. Officers in the six districts selected for expansion will begin wearing the cameras in the spring 2016.

According to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the cameras “are just one tool and not the only reform needed.” In a statement, he said the cameras “will soon be a regular part of every interaction—routine or extraordinary—between residents and police officers in more communities across our city.”

The program’s expansion comes in the wake of the release of the Laquan McDonald dashcam footage, which led to the dismissal of former CPD Superintendent Garry McCarthy and the launching of a U.S. Justice Department investigation into the department.

Park District offering free fitness sessions beginning Jan. 2

During what it’s calling Fitness Week, the Chicago Park District will be offering free workouts from Jan 2. To Jan. 10 at any of its 73 fitness centers and 20 lap swim locations. West Side facilities offering the free workouts include Amundsen, Austin Town Hall, Columbus Park and La Follette.

Participants are required to register and all workout activities will accept participants on a first-come, first-served basis. Anyone who purchases a fitness center membership during Fitness Week will receive a free water bottle.

For more information, visit

Spate of armed robberies in Austin

Chicago police have cautioned residents about four armed robberies that have happened in Austin since Dec. 20. In each instance, victims were approached by two to three suspects, who displayed a beige or black handgun before taking their belongings.

The four incidents are listed below:

  • 1000 block of North Massasoit Avenue on Dec. 20 at 3:15 p.m.
  • 1000 block of North Central Avenue on Dec. 24 at 1:30 p.m.
  • 5600 block of West Chicago Avenue on Dec. 24 at 6:20 p.m.
  • 1000 block of North Monitor Avenue on Dec. 25 at 12:19 a.m.

The suspects were described as black males, between 5-foot-8 and 6-foot tall and ranging from 145 to 180 pounds. Their ages range from 17 to 30 years old, according to police. Police are asking anyone who has any information relating to the crimes to call Area Central detectives at (312) 744-8263.

Starting Jan. 1, city no longer accepting plastic bags in recycling carts

Starting Jan. 1, the City of Chicago will no longer accept plastic bags in its blue recycling carts.

“When you have bags, haulers don’t see what’s inside,” Jennifer Martinez, a Streets and Sanitation Department spokesperson told Chicago Tonight. “They don’t see if there are non-recyclables in the cart.”

Items that can be recycled include:

  • Plastic containers
  • Glass jars and bottles
  • Aluminum, tin or steel cans, foil and pie tins
  • Milk and juice cartons, and aseptic containers
  • Cardboard paper that’s flattened, newspapers, catalogs, telephone books, etc.

Those items that can’t be recycled include:

  • Plastic bags, bubble wrap and film
  • Food waste
  • Foam
  • Batteries
  • Toner cartridges
  • Liquids
  • Biodegradable or compostable plastics
  • Plastic cutlery and straws
  • Used napkins, tissues and paper towels
  • Liquids

For more information, click here.