Kenosha police bodycam testing underway

For the first time, Kenosha police officers are wearing body cameras while on patrol. The Jacob Blake shooting added urgency to the matter.

A handful of patrol officers are testing body cameras on the streets of Kenosha. The goal is to have all officers wearing them by the end of the year. 

"We have five officers that are wearing body cameras and testing them out in the field to see how they’re working out," said Lt. Joseph Nosalik.

The Kenosha Police Department is in the early stages of purchasing body cameras for officers and the community. 

Kenosha Police Department

Kenosha Police Department

"We’re looking for all our patrol officers, which is in the range of 185 having body cameras accessible to them," said Lt. Nosalik.

Nosalik said body cameras will be another tool for the department to be open and transparent -- plus help with investigations and training. 

"This is a win-win for everybody, and we’re very excited to have those cameras come on board," he said.

Officer Rusten Sheskey, Jacob Blake

Officer Rusten Sheskey, Jacob Blake

Community members have criticized leaders for not having cameras, but after the August 2020 police shooting of Jacob Blake, which was captured on cellphone video, the city’s Common Council approved a $750,000 purchase for body cameras. 

"Yes, without a doubt. It got the ball rolling a lot quicker," said Alderman Rocco LaMacchia. "We moved it up one whole year because of that shooting, definitely, yes." 

LaMacchia is chairman of the Safety and Welfare Committee. 

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"We have to protect our community, and we also have to protect our police officers," said LaMacchia.

The department is working to find the right vendor and would not show the cameras being tested Wednesday.

"We want to be fair to the process, so I don’t want to advertise any one vendor over another," said Nosalik.

Lieutenant Nosalik said the process is all part of a greater mission.

"The overall goal is to be open and transparent with what we as a police department are doing in the community," he said.

The goal is the have the technology to sync the body cameras with squad video. The department wants every officer wearing body cameras by the end of the year.

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