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Wauwatosa Police Department takes step toward acquiring body cams as protesters demand transparency

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WAUWATOSA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The Wauwatosa Police Department is one step closer to having body cameras for their officers after a special meeting was called Monday, June 29, by the city council.

Protesters also made an appearance during Police Chief Barry Weber's presentation.

Monday marked day 32 of protests, and for the last few weeks, protesters have repeatedly gone to Wauwatosa to demand justice from Police Chief Weber for three men fatally shot by the same officer.

Protesters booed the chief as he began his presentation, but were happy with the outcome.

"This is a step to what I want -- justice," said Jay Anderson, Jay Anderson Jr.'s father.

The Wauwatosa Police Department currently only has squad cameras and motorcycle patrol body cameras.

The police department says the cameras are needed to build trust and transparency within the community.

"It would be their own individually-assigned camera, which again, as far as accountability goes, there's no way to alter that information," said Captain Brian Zalewski. 

Antonio Gonzales, Jay Anderson Jr., and Alvin Cole were all shot by Wauwatosa Police Officer Joseph Mensah, and protesters have challenged the department's transparency. 

Alderman Matt Stippich stressed the urgency of body cameras being implemented within six months.

Protesters questioned why body cameras weren't implemented sooner.

"I wanna put some fire under us to take some action on implementation of this," said Ald. Stippich.

"I wish we wouldn't have to wait for six months," Anderson said. "I wish they could start tomorrow."

Captain Zalewski discussed brands, functionality, price, and installation of body and squad cameras. Some start recording with certain triggers.

Startup body camera equipment costs anywhere from $104,000 to $135,000, with squad camera replacement costing nearly $88,000.

A whole package could cost more than $500,000 within a five-year time.

"Five-year replacement plan and a program and basically you're always ensured that you're gonna maintain your number of cameras regardless of if they're damaged," Zalewski said. 

Protesters say their next move is to have the department fire Joseph Mensah.

"We gonna seek justice," said Tracy Cole, Alvin Cole's mother. "We already got one thing taken care of, so we going for the second thing."

"Every day they keep him they lose credibility," added Kimberly Motley, attorney for the Cole and Gonzales families. 

The body cam proposal now heads to two committees for recommendations before going back to the city council and taking a final vote.

The next meeting is expected to be in two weeks.

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