A Central Wisconsin police department is the latest law enforcement agency to move ahead with plans to have officers wear body cameras.
The Wausau city council last week approved funding for devices, which will be supplied by Taser International under $300,000, 5 year contract. Police Captain Ben Bliven said they anticipate officers will begin wearing them in February of March. The department will be asking for over 50 of the cameras, enough for every patrol officer, the community service officer and the school liaison officer.
Bliven said officers will be using them in the same manner as they already use their dash cams. “Any time one of our officers is in contact with a citizen during the course of their duties, they’ll be required to have the body cam activated.”
The cameras will also link up with the dash camera microphones that the officers already wear in order to collect ambient noise and their own communications while on duty.
Much like the dash cameras are used to collect evidence for police, Bliven said people shouldn’t be surprised if that is the primary use of the body cameras once officers start wearing them. But that’s won’t be the only use, he said. “It improves our ability to investigate complaints against police officers, we can use the videos that we obtain for officer training. Just increasing the transparency and trust with our community is a big advantage as well.”
Contributed by Raymond Neupert, WSAU