Racine County deputies to wear new, automatic body cameras

NOW: Racine County deputies to wear new, automatic body cameras

RACINE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Transparency is the mission behind a technology upgrade within the Racine Sheriff's Office. 

From now on, any law enforcement interaction with members of the community will be recorded. 

"From time to time, law enforcement officers find themselves having to use one of their weapons, and it's highly unlikely that even the most well-seasoned professional is going to think to turn their body camera on while they're fighting for their lives," said Sheriff Christopher Schmaling.

But now, with new Bluetooth technology, they don't have to.

Anytime a deputy removes their gun or tazer out of the holster, that officer's body camera will turn on, and all of the body cameras worn by officers on the scene will turn on too.

The body cameras will also turn on when deputies turn the lights in their cars on.

"I spoke to a number of our deputies. They're concerned that should their come a time where they have to use deadly force in a fluid, volatile situation, will I have the presence of mind to turn my body camera on? And will this community want to see me go to prison for saving my life and the citizens around me? That's a real concern," said Schmaling. "And this technology, we will take that element out of it and give some peace of mind if you will."

Sheriff Schmaling says Racine is the first sheriff's office in the state to have the technology. The new system will apply to all Racine County sheriff deputies and will cost around $86,000.

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