UWPD turns to public while preparing to implement body cameras

UWPD turns to public while preparing to implement body cameras
UWPD Chief Sue Riseling

During the first of two University of Wisconsin Police Department public forums focused on helping department leaders form a body camera policy, about 15 campus community members seemed open to the idea of implementation this summer.

“I’m open-minded to it as long as the policies are transparent to me,” one student said.

“But I do think they should be allowed to be open record if you’re really trying to have full transparency between what’s going on with the officer and how they interact with the public,” another student said.

UWPD Chief Sue Riseling said she would like to have any of the 10 UWPD officers on patrol continually using the $400 cameras by summer. However, the policy they will follow is still a working document.

“We can set up a policy that says you turn them on at this time, you turn them off at this time,” Reseling said. “But what our community thinks is really important: When do they want to make sure we have them on? And when do they want to make sure it’s OK we have them turned off.”

Other questions during the forum seemed to focus on limiting recordings based on where students live versus public areas. And asking how UW police should handle open records requests when footage could show faces of those not involved in an incident.

With so many police departments nationwide ordering body cameras following a series of officer-involved shootings, UWPD’s order is part of 3,500 cameras currently on backorder status. Therefore, Riseling is unsure if she will be able to make the summer deadline.

There will be a second forum on the third floor of Union South Thursday at 2 p.m.