Tools to help fight crime: MPD looks to buy body cameras, expand ShotSpotter program

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Milwaukee police are buying new technology to help them prevent and fight crime. At the Public Safety Committee meeting on Thursday, October 2nd, Milwaukee Police Department leaders explained they are in the midst of buying body cameras, and they're looking to expand the city's ShotSpotter program.

The Milwaukee Police Department is committed to buying the body cameras, but how to go about it is the big question.

"There are so many different types of equipment to use, different kind of models," Inspector Mary Hoerig, with the Milwaukee Police Department said.

Thursday's Public Safety Committee meeting was the first public discussion between Milwaukee Common Council members and police about the cameras. City and MPD leaders are trying to figure out how to best use the cameras, what they would cost the city and how to respect citizen privacy.

“Will you have to notify the residents prior to entering into their house, that there is a body camera on?" asked Alderman Joe Davis.

MPD leaders say each camera costs between $300 and $1,000. To outfit the entire department, they would need to buy 1,200 cameras. The estimated total cost is between $360,000 and $1.2 million.

Police also explained why they need more funding approved for the ShotSpotter program. The program uses strategically placed sensors in high-crime areas to record and document the sound of gunfire. It helps police to pinpoint the location where shootings occur.

MPS is looking to expand the program using state and county money, in police districts 2, 3, 5 and 7.

"[That is] based on gunshots fired in the city, data evaluated on violent crime involving guns, gunfire, aggravated assaults, homicides," Inspector Hoerig said.

The committee made a motion to accept the funding and move those resolutions on to the Finance Committee.

They also discussed collecting racial data at traffic stops.