A new legislative panel will be examining how best to handle police body camera footage in Wisconsin.
That panel is being lead by State Senator Patrick Testin (R-Stevens Point) and seeks to put together a uniform statewide policy on how best to handle, retain and release body camera footage.
Right now we don’t any set standards across the state,” says Testin, “And instead we have a number of different patchworks from law enforcement agencies across the state, and unfortunately that’s caused a little bit of concern for some law enforcement officials.”
A previous version of a body camera bill passed the state Assembly, but never got any traction in the State Senate before the end of the session. A number of Wisconsin broadcasters and journalists came to speak against the bill, claiming that proposal would put undue hurdles in place to get access to footage They were also concerned with allowing police to erase some footage after only 120 days.
Testin says he understands their concerns but says that the bill was not going to stop journalists from doing their jobs. “It got blown out of proportion a little bit, and that’s what snagged us. But I think once we clear things up that way we should have smooth sailing moving forward.”
“We’re going to now be able to have all the broadcasters, law enforcement officials and other stakeholders to the table, to discuss this and hopefully come up with some solutions that hopefully address a lot of the parties’ concerns.”