All Milwaukee police officers on the street will be wearing body cameras by the end of 2016 — a pace that outstrips most other large police departments using the technology — under a proposal from Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, reports the city’s Journal Sentinel. While figures remain preliminary, body cameras for 1,200 Milwaukee street officers, including storage of video information, would cost $880,000 in 2016 and about $1 million a year beginning in 2017, according to Barrett’s preliminary budget.
The estimated cost for the cameras in Milwaukee is about what it would cost to add 12 additional officers to the department’s ranks of 1,880 sworn officers, the mayor said. “The question is: Is it worth 12 officers?” Barrett asked. “That’s a legitimate public policy debate.” Both Barrett and Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn said they support the proposal. Flynn said, “It’s going to overwhelmingly put in context what they’re dealing with, what they try to do and what actually happens.” A local police union official said the cameras “will absolutely depict the professionalism that our officers display on a daily basis.”