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As I See It

Time to go all in on police body cameras

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Policies don’t carry much weight if they don’t have to be followed. Yet that is the case when it comes to police wearing body cameras. We’ve seen the role body cameras can play in exposing the truth, both good and bad, during encounters at crime scenes. Without them, critical encounters go undocumented. Last year, Wisconsin adopted some laws regulating the use of police body cameras, but the legislation did not mandate that all police departments utilize body cameras. Instead, it offered policies to be followed by those departments which do use them. La Crosse police wear body cameras and there are policies for their use, but that is not true of all departments. In fact, a survey by the Wisconsin Department of Justice finds that more than one-third, 37 percent of Wisconsin police agencies, don’t use body cameras. In Minnesota, they adopted a policy two years ago requiring problem officers to wear body cameras. But few do. We’ve seen how effective body cams can be in proving what happened in crisis situations. We shouldn’t still be debating whether they are a good idea, or whether they should be used. It is time to go all in on body cameras and adopt clear and consistent policies for their use.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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