Fire and Police Commission decides to wait on approving SOP for body cameras for MPD

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MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee’s Fire and Police Commission has decided to wait on approving a standard operating procedure when it comes to body cameras for the Milwaukee Police Department.

Body camera

Body camera

At a meeting of the Fire and Police Commission held Thursday, October 1st, commissioners said they’re still working on developing a response to the questions raised at a meeting Tuesday — when members of the public were able to provide testimony on this issue.

MPD plans to utilize 1,200 body cameras by next summer.

MPD officials say the goal is to begin with 200 cameras on October 12th. From there, the hope is that 300 more cameras can be distributed to officers in December, another 300 in March 2016, and then 400 in June 2016.

Some of the listed examples of situations where a body camera may be de-activated include interviews with children, sexual assault victims, witnesses who simply don’t want to be recorded, or a casual encounter (one where there’s no call for service or anything to be enforced.)

When MPD body cameras can be turned off

When MPD body cameras can be turned off

Critics of the plan say they want the body cameras to record an officer’s entire shift.

“Before we can even begin to talk about these body cameras, the conversation needs to remain in the context it’s supposed to. These body cameras are being asked for because citizens need protection more so than the police do,” a member of the community said.

The next Fire and Police Commission meeting is set for October 15th.

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