GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – A new tool promoting transparency at the Green Bay Police Department is being put to the test. Officers are slowly starting to wear body cameras, with a full rollout planned by mid-June.
At the Green Bay Police Department body cameras are starting to be worn by some officers.
Sgt. Jeff Schilling is one of the first after going through training this past week.
“It’s very easy to use, very user friendly, they made it very simple, two or three buttons we have to push to activate it,” says Sgt. Schilling.
In December 2020, Green Bay City Council approved a plan to purchase 190 body cameras, 150 tasers and 42 cameras for squads from manufacturer Axon. A $2.7 million purchase under a 5-year contract.
“It will help the public understand a little bit more of what we do and what we have to do, what we face out there. It will help tell the story a little more clearly because we’ll have that video,” says Ben Allen.
Captain Allen is leading the project. He says sergeants are now wearing the cameras and by mid-June, all officers should be trained up and using them.
“The minute an officer activates the camera or it is activated by a taser deployment or removing a handgun from a holster, that will automatically activate the body camera,” says Allen.
And Allen says because the cameras are always buffering, the system will also record the 30 seconds of time prior to an event. There will be video, but no audio.
“We’ll see exactly what the officer saw, that made him make the decision that he made, he or she made, prior to activation of the camera,” explains Allen.
The video captured will be uploaded to the cloud after these cameras are put back in this charging station. Allen says officers here are ready to embrace this new technology.
“They are anxious to have it, to be able to really show what their job is about, what they experience everyday, the good, bad, how they are treated, good or bad,” says Allen.
More training is scheduled for officers next Friday. Allen says they anticipate having the new squad cameras installed in June. The Packers provided $750,000 towards the project.