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Local police, lawmakers discuss proposed statewide body camera policy

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Lawmakers are working on a new statewide body camera policy and Milwaukee-area police and state leaders were in Madison Thursday to weigh in. 

Right now, body camera policies are run entirely through individual police departments, but some lawmakers want an overreaching policy on how long video is stored and who can stop its release. 

State leaders say the public should have confidence that most interactions with law enforcement will be on camera. 

"The expectation now in our society is where is the camera footage," said State Sen. Chris Larson (D) Milwaukee. 

But right now, all rules are left to local departments. 

"That's the goal of this is to make sure that, look, there is something from the state that says when you have an interaction with the police, there will be a record from it," said Sen. Larson. 

State Senator Patrick Testin says anyone in a video should be able to veto its release. 

"There should be some level of privacy, so they don't have to relive a horrific moment of their life over and over again on the nightly news, or the front page of the newspaper," said State Sen. Patrick Testin (R) Stevens Point. 

Most lawmakers want the video held for at least 120 days, longer for serious events like the use of force. Some worry allowing people to shut down video release is throwing away evidence. 

"It's just another piece of evidence. It just happens to be probably the best evidence because it's live video of what happened," said Heath Straka with Wisconsin Association for Justice. 

There's also the matter of cost to taxpayers. Milwaukee Police say they upload 1,500 videos a day and smaller departments might not have te resources to store and monitor all that data.

"The administrative burden is tremendous and we would welcome assistance by the legislature," said Milwaukee Police Department Inspector Terrance Gordon. 

The committee hopes to have a bill ready to go by the time the legislature gets back in session. 

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