Common council votes to implement body camera pilot program for Madison police
MADISON, Wis. — The Madison Common Council on Wednesday morning voted to implement a limited body-worn camera pilot program for police officers on the city’s north side.
The 11-9 vote marks the latest development in a years-long debate about whether to implement the technology.
A lengthy public comments section at Tuesday night’s meeting pushed the discussion into Wednesday Morning. The vote took place after 3 a.m.
Madison police chief Shon Barnes said in a statement, “We now begin the process of moving forward with this technology pilot. There is still much work to do and heavy loads to lift in order to rebuild trust with our community whom we proudly serve.”
Wednesday’s vote also comes three months after the council delayed a decision on whether to move forward with the program, which would equip 48 officers in the North District with body cameras as part of a one-year pilot.
Advocates have argued the technology will increase transparency, while opponents have expressed concerns about privacy, cost and policing priorities.
“Body-worn cameras or not, we will continue to police in a way that’s procedurally just and brings credit to our department and policing as a whole,” Chief Barnes said after the vote.
A News 3 Now analysis in February found police departments in eight of Wisconsin’s ten largest cities — all but Madison and Waukesha — have implemented body-worn cameras.
Read Chief Barnes’ full statement below.
This morning I’m grateful. Grateful the Madison Common Council approved our body-worn camera pilot program.
We now begin the process of moving forward with this technology pilot. There is still much work to do and heavy loads to lift in order to rebuild trust with our community whom we proudly serve.
As the chief of police, it is my responsibility to lead our agency in accordance with local, state and federal laws. It is also my responsibility to ensure the policies, procedures and principles that guide our police department are based on evidence-based practices, great intuition and the best practices within the profession of policing. In my judgement this also includes body-worn cameras. Body-worn cameras or not, we will continue to police in a way that’s procedurally just and brings credit to our department and policing as a whole.
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