Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $48,000)
The Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office (MCDAO) seeks funding for the acquisition of body worn cameras for its sixteen full-time sworn investigators, six part-time sworn process investigators, and two line supervisors, and to support costs associated with the devices, such as training and digital media storage fees.
The MCDAO Investigative Division is comprised 16 sworn law enforcement investigators who work in and from the MCDAO and are assigned to one of three areas: the Maurice J. Pulley, Jr. Witness Protection Program, Child Support Enforcement, or Special Investigations. Depending on their assignments, they investigate victim/witness intimidation, public corruption, major multi-jurisdictional crimes, elder abuse, white collar crimes, and industrial deaths and injuries. These investigators are supervised by two Deputy Chief Investigators. Regardless of assignment, all respond to critical incidents, including police shootings of civilians, and deaths in police custody. Six part-time Process Investigators are hourly, sworn law enforcement personnel, whose principal duty is to serve criminal trial subpoenas on witnesses who are either unresponsive to mailed subpoenas or who are overtly uncooperative, frequently in the most aggravated cases. All investigator positions are filled by appointment by District Attorney John Chisholm.
All Investigators and Process Investigators have daily contact with the public. They have jurisdictional authority throughout Milwaukee County, population 945,729, but their activities are generally concentrated in the City of Milwaukee, population 594,548, because the City has the highest—and persistently so—rate of crime. (2019 population estimates. Source: United States Census Bureau)
With the funds, the MCDAO will,
Acquire BWCs and contract for services related to that equipment, including digital data storage, all in a manner consistent with county procurement guidelines;
With the training and technical assistance provider (TTA), develop a comprehensive BWC policy consistent with State law and establish training protocols for its investigators, and supervisors;
With the TTA and subject matter experts, develop best-practices, operating procedures, and tracking mechanisms regarding the use, review, storage, retention, and deletion of BWC media; as well as the access and distribution of such media to prosecutors, criminal justice partners, and the community; and
Implement BWCs for sworn staff, incorporating them into daily administrative and field operations, and sharing them with prosecutors as criminal discovery in matters referred for prosecution.
The proposed BWC program will benefit not only the officers and those with whom they have contact, but will increase transparency and promote public trust throughout the entire community.