SHAWANO COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) — Shawano County Sheriff’s Deputies now wear body cameras.
It’s a trend law enforcement agencies throughout the country are following.
“It protects our citizens – it protects our deputies. It provides a great tool in the courtroom,” says Shawano County Sheriff Adam Bieber.
32 cameras were purchased with the help of a $20,000 donation from the Stockbridge-Munsee Tribe. Sheriff Bieber says it would have been difficult to get county board approval on the camera purchases without the donation.
Green Bay Police Chief Andrew Smith says his department is still considering purchasing body cameras for his officers, but the cost is significant.
“In my perfect world every cop would have them on with them all the time and we’d always know what happened, but the reality of it is that it’s just so expensive and it may be cost prohibitive in some places,” says Chief Smith.
Chief Smith and several other law enforcement agency leaders in the area including Marinette County Sheriff Jerry Sauve say the real concern is the cost of storing the footage captured on the body cameras.
In Shawano County, the cost of storage almost equaled the cost of the cameras. Sheriff Bieber says the cameras cost roughly $32,000 and the storage cost roughly $27,000.
“Money is always a hindrance. This is an extra tool but it’s definitely one that’s needed,” said Sheriff Bieber.
Shawano County Deputy Jennifer Bartz wore her new body camera today.
“I think a lot of the public doesn’t realize what we deal with, you know, the people that we do deal with,” she said.
She says the camera will protect her from false claims of misconduct.
“The public is always looking at you no matter what you do and I think, you know, everyone has that going through their head,” says Deputy Bartz.