Survey shows 36-percent of state's police departments lack body cameras
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- For the first time, Wisconsin has an idea how many police departments lack body cameras in the state. 36 percent.
A big reason for that number is cost.
The state's justice department asked 436 police departments across the state what kind of cameras they had, if any.
Milwaukee has both squad and body cameras, but just enough for officers in the patrol division, not every officer across the department.
"A significant percentage of agencies, less than half, but a significant percentage, don't have body cameras right now," said Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul.
Kaul hopes lawmakers take note of the survey, because he says the police departments that lack body cameras gave a near unanimous reason why -- the money.
"Both the cost of obtaining the cameras and the cost of storage," said Kaul.
Wauwatosa police lacked body cameras for all of its patrol officers until now.
"By late February, early March, all the officers will be wearing body cameras, everybody that's on patrol," said Mayor Dennis McBride.
He said the price tag cost around $600,000, but he said the police and the council agreed all patrol officers should have one.
"We thought it was good policing to have body cameras, so that the police could show what they did and the public could have confidence in what the police were doing," said McBride.
The Kenosha Common Council approved spending $750,000 in November to equip its officers with body cameras, prompted by the outrage over the shooting of Jacob Blake. The Kenosha police chief said they plan to start deploying the cameras by the end of June. The district attorney said at the beginning of this year, the department needs to have them.
"The more evidence you can have about any event that unfolded, that helps you make a reliable judgment about the facts," said Kaul.
Milwaukee police said it's not practical to have all 1,750 sworn officers equipped with body cameras, but it says every officer on patrol has one.
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