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Madison committee works to finalize recommendations for police body cameras

Published: Jan. 11, 2021 at 9:49 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 11, 2021 at 10:39 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The debate over police body cameras continues, as a Madison committee prepares to finalize its recommendations for the Common Council.

The police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha has reignited the conversation over the issue across Wisconsin.

Kenosha officers did not have body cameras during that shooting and the District Attorney there has stated that the investigation would have been easier if they had.

The delay in Kenosha’s police receiving body cams had been due to budget issues but since the Blake shooting, the department plans to implement the cameras this year.

Police in Green Bay plan to do the same this year, while Madison has yet to make the decision.

The topic has been up for consideration in Madison since the 2015 fatal police shooting of Tony Robinson.

Following that incident, a committee was formed to look into MPD practices and procedures, especially in use of force situations.

In April of 2020, The Madison Common Council created the “Body-worn Camera Feasibility Review Committee”. The group is tasked with making a recommendation for the council on the issue by using research to determine how body cams would would within the department in Madison.

The deadline for the committee to present its report to the Common Council has been extended to the end of January.

Monday, the committee met virtually to finalize documents that detail how MPD would use body cams if implemented.

This includes, auto-technology that would immediately activate the camera whenever squad car lights are on or when the camera detects an officer is running.

Officers would also be required to have the camera rolling in specific instances. This includes routine calls, traffic stops, and search warrants.

There would also be certain limitations and rules for when the cameras should not be used such as in restrooms or locker rooms. The committee plans to meet again virtually on Friday to continue finalizing.

Recommendations will be given to the Common Council on January 27th.

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