Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $30,000)
Working cooperatively with the public, the Fox Point Police Department strives to improve the quality of life in the village, protect the safety and welfare of the citizens and enforce the laws in an impartial and equitable manner. Policing in the twenty-first century requires new and innovative technology to maintain a safe environment for both the police and citizens. The implementation of a Body-Worn Camera (BWC) program will help facilitate holding our officers and residents to a higher moral standard, along with providing officers with a useful tool used in criminal investigations and for collecting evidence. The Village of Fox Point Police Department serves a wide variety of people in a Milwaukee suburb who live, work, attend social functions, shop, or attend school in village limits.
The Fox Point Police Department has utilized a mobile video recording system in the squad cars for more than two decades. As technology has evolved, the advent of smaller, more portable and reliable body worn video recorders were adopted into the law enforcement profession. While we believe in the integrity of law enforcement officers, occasionally mistakes may be made and the public trust is lost. The public has identified the use of the body worn camera by law enforcement officers as a standard to ensure proper documentation of the professional interaction, as well as collection of visual or audio evidence by an impartial third person (video). We are fortunate to have a low frequency of citizen complaints of misconduct and the body worn camera will assist our agency in holding the officers to a high professional standard, while serving as an impartial observer to the citizen – officer interaction.
The department recently participated in a pilot program for BWCs. Each officer was outfitted with a BWC, and was able to learn the technology. There was a great deal of thought and time that went into creating the BWC policy that is consistent with Wisconsin State Law. Many different BWC options were explored, and we felt the best option for the department is the Axon 3 Body Worn Camera system. Our department administrator has been in contact with the Axon representative, who has provided training and information. The department is now looking to fully implement a BWC program to the department, and has the support from the village. The village is willing and able to provide the 1:1 match for the BWC grant.