March 23, 2022 – West Bend, WI – After nearly a year of collaboration and support from U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Washington County Sheriff’s Office will receive a $377,000 grant for obtaining the necessary hardware and data storage for body-worn cameras for sheriff’s deputies, as well as dash cameras for squad cars.
Washington County Sheriff Martin R. Schulteis said, “Body cameras allow the community to see exactly what the officers are doing and promote transparency with the public we serve. Cameras improve both officer performance and civilian conduct; individuals act differently when they know they are being recorded.”
There are many advantages to this technology, according to Schulteis. Body-worn cameras bolster accountability by having interactions between officers and the public recorded, both are held accountable for their actions during the encounter. Allegations of excessive force, officer misconduct and citizen complaints can be proven, or disproven, after reviewing camera footage.
“Funding this much-needed equipment is an example of bi-partisanship action,” said County Executive Josh Schoemann. “Rather than tagging Washington County taxpayers with this expensive but necessary cost, the procurement of this earmark shares the cost with taxpayers nationwide, many of whom travel through and visit our county. I’m very proud of our team and its working relationship with Senator Baldwin, who got the Senate to pass the funding, which was ultimately signed by President Biden.”
Body worn cameras also record events and dialogue exactly as it happens and provides an impartial account to law enforcement and the public alike. Additionally, an area that is often overlooked is the training and development of deputies. While reviewing footage, deputies can identify areas of needed improvement including tactics, interview techniques, de-escalation, interpersonal skills, etc.
After the application is completed and approved, processing of the funding can begin. All equipment will be installed in 2022.
Fine work done by Senator Baldwin! She really stands up for the people of Wisconsin that she represents.