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Monday - July 24, 2017 1:12 am

La Crosse police still evaluating body cams worn by six officers Featured

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An officer for the La Crosse P.D. displays one of six body cameras owned by the department. An officer for the La Crosse P.D. displays one of six body cameras owned by the department.

Dept. cams cost $1,000 each but real expense is additional hardware, software. 

More than a week into an investigation, still mostly questions about why a Minneapolis officer shot and killed the woman who initially called 911.

Neither officer responding to Justine Damond's two calls for help had their body cameras recording.

It's a problem most La Crosse police wouldn't face because only six officers actually have body cams.

"We never really planned on going further than that, initially," La Crosse asst. police chief Rob Abraham said. "But we feel the same pressures than any agency feels and that's having that transparency out there."

Each of the La Crosse Police Dept. cameras cost about $1,000. Abraham says the bigger cost is the software and hardware to support the cameras. And the thousands of dollars in cost, says Abraham, is a significant budget issue even for his department — a department that spends more than $10 million a year.


"You just don't go to Shopko or any other store and just buy body cameras," Abraham said. "You have to make sure it's going to work with all the systems you have in place."

Abraham expects all officers to be outfitted with cameras by next year. He said the delay is due to an ongoing evaluation process to make certain the cameras are the best for the department.

He didn't think it made a lot of sense that the Minneapolis officers didn't have theirs on during that shooting death of Damond. The cameras La Crosse police use have a "prerecord" feature.

"You don't necessarily have to capture it as it's happening live, as long as you hit it within a certain time period, you will get the actual footage," Abraham said.

Right now, La Crosse's Neighborhood Resource Officers are the ones wearing the six body cams, which they were equipped with last year.

Abraham says there's reasons for that.

"They're out of the cars, they're on segways, bicycles, foot," Abraham said. "So, it's a great oppurtunity for them to have that and we see it as a tool for transparency."

Last modified on Monday - July 24, 2017 6:53 am
Mitch Reynolds

Mitch Reynolds is the News Director at Midwest Family Broadcasting. He covers the internecine agonies of La Crosse city hall. He really likes basketball.

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