Body cameras for MPD to be discussed at public meeting Tuesday
MILWAUKEE-- Body cameras for each patrol officer in the Milwaukee Police Department are closer to becoming a reality. Before the cameras get implemented, the public will get an opportunity to ask questions or voice any of their concerns to city officials. A public meeting will take place Tuesday at 5:30 PM at the Hillside Family Resource Center on 1542 N. 7th St.
Many concerned citizens and advocacy groups have pressured MPD officers to start wearing body cameras after the officer involved shooting at Red Arrow Park. Dontre Hamilton was killed on April 30th, 2014 after Officer Christopher Manney opened fire. Hamilton suffered from schizophrenia, and Manney was not trained to confront subjects in a mental health crisis. Manney was not wearing a body camera.
The body cameras will cost the City of Milwaukee $880,000 for the initial purchase, and $1,000,000 to continue using them each year. The cameras worn by each officer will be either clipped on their collar or worn as a headband at eye level. The cameras will look more like an officer is wearing Google glass instead of chest cameras many other departments choose to wear.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett told CBS-58 the cameras help keep officers accountable, but some are upset because there will be times when the cameras can be turned off. Officers will not be allowed to secretly record conversations with other officers or the public, and must turn off cameras any time there's reasonable expectations for privacy, like in locker rooms or restrooms. Officers can also use their discretion to turn off cameras if they need to protect victim's of sexual assault or other crimes.