MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The debate is brewing as Milwaukee leaders consider using body cameras on police officers. There is a growing petition online to try and stop events like those in Ferguson, Missouri from happening here.
FOX6 News is told the Milwaukee Police Department has already tested cameras on a small group of officers. They are trying to be part of a larger pilot program that could expand to 50 cops on the street.
"We're serious. We want police officers to wear body cameras," said community activist, Tracey Dent.
On Sunday, August 17th, community advocate Tracey Dent launched a petition on Change.org to encourage city leaders to purchase body cameras for Milwaukee police officers. He says, it's a response to the riots in Ferguson, Missouri.
"Tensions are high. We need to start defusing the situation," Dent says.
At Red Arrow Park -- where police officer fatally shot 31-year-old Dontre Hamilton during a scuffle this past April.
"Right now, the people just do not trust the police officers. We have to start reversing that," said Dent.
The small cameras work by recording interactions police officers have with citizens, and also documenting calls for service. It's a concept Milwaukee police chief Ed Flynn is already looking into. But questions still remain.
"If everyone who wants us to have cameras on us all the time - there are people who are worried about what this means for their privacy when we show up at a family dispute or some other husband/wife incident or something," said Milwaukee Police Chief, Ed Flynn.
Additionally, there are concerns about cost. Wednesday night, Milwaukee Alderman Tony Zielinski called upon Mayor Tom Barrett to include funds in the 2015 budget to purchase the equipment. If he doesn't, Zielinski says he will be introducing a budget amendment to include them. Barrett says the city is still researching the topic.
"Part of the challenge is making sure the technology doesn't outpace us. We don`t want to buy so many cameras and they`ll be obsolete before they are even put into operation," said Milwaukee Mayor, Tom Barrett.
Dent says his goal is to reach 2,000 signatures before he hands over a physical copy of the petition to various city leaders.
"It`s a start. It`s a starting point. It`s going to take its different layers. Right now, we`re just shaving off one layer when it comes to trust," Dent said.
Dent says it's promising to hear the chief say the department is already looking into it.