Police squad cars to get new cameras

Village Board approves $9,600 for equipment to be phased in over five years
By 
JOE POIRIER
Ozaukee Press Staff

The Saukville Police Department will be phasing in new squad-car cameras after the Village Board approved the purchase of the equipment March 20.

The department currently uses ICOP dashboard cameras, but customer service has declined since Safety Vision, a public transportation camera company, bought out the original owner several years ago, village officials said. 

“We purchased their new-style cameras and its operating system a couple years ago and they have not been up to the par of the old ICOP cameras,” Saukville Police Chief Jeff Goetz said.

“They’re not very user-friendly and getting the information from the squad to a disc is quite difficult.” 

Goetz also said some of the camera-system features promised to the department, such as voice redaction, were never provided by the company.  

“They keep telling us it will be included in the next update but it never happens,” Goetz said. “They’ve stopped coming to the law-enforcement trade shows.”

Goetz said the cameras are still useful but he wants to replace all five squad-car cameras in the next five years by phasing in a new camera each year.   

The board unanimously approved the purchase of new cameras and operating system from WatchGuard Video for $9,600.

“Instead of throwing good money at something bad, it’s better we start a new project with a company that’s more responsible,” Goetz said. 

Village Administrator Dawn Wagner said money for the squad-car cameras comes from the police department’s equipment replacement fund, which has approximately $40,000.

The new camera system, Goetz said, has many features, including voice redaction that allows the department to censor information not pertinent to a requested video file, such as a license-plate number mentioned over the radio in a separate incident. 

“All the new squad and body cameras are coming out with voice redaction, so you can bleep those spots out manually without ever changing the original footage so we can’t be accused of altering anything,” Goetz said.

“I don’t think ICOP is ever going to have that, and that’s something that’s going to be coming in the near future.”

According to Police Lt. Robert Meyer, the Ozaukee County Sheriff’s Department is also considering purchasing WatchGuard cameras. 

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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