I've received a number of emails and messages about body worn cameras over the last week. These have primarily been questions about current MPD use of body worn cameras, and requests that MPD equip all officers with body worn cameras. I'll provide a brief overview so all are aware of current MPD practices and my view on future expansion.
Currently, most MPD squad cars (patrol, traffic, etc.) are equipped with in-car video systems. We have used in-car video for more than 15 years, and often found it to be helpful in a variety of contexts (resolving complaints, providing evidence, training, audits, etc.). In-car video, of course, only captures a limited perspective of what takes place, and that's where body worn cameras come in. MPD only uses body worn cameras now in limited circumstances (SWAT officers during tactical operations). We will soon be equipping motorcycle officers with body worn cameras, as motorcycles are not equipped with video systems like the squads are. Our SOP on body worn camera use by SWAT:
In 2015, the City formed a committee to explore the issue of body worn cameras. That group ultimately recommended that the City not move forward with broad use of body worn cameras by MPD. The report is available here:
The Madison Police Department Policy & Procedure Review Ad Hoc Committee report recommended that the City form a new committee to re-visit the idea of body worn cameras. The Common Council has approved the formation of that committee, but it has not started meeting yet. The committee is expected to report back to the full Council in January of 2021:
I support expanded use of body worn cameras by MPD officers. While body worn cameras are certainly not a perfect fix to the issues currently facing policing, they are part of the solution. Many agencies have deployed body worn cameras, and I think they would benefit the department and the community. The cost of expanded body worn camera deployment, however, is significant. In addition to the start-up costs, additional civilian positions are required to manage the massive volume of video storage and respond to public records requests for body worn camera footage. I recognize that there are different opinions on this subject, but further deployment of body worn cameras is a strategy to improve transparency that I support.
The information provided below about some of the calls officers responded to is derived from notes provided by MPD Officers-In-Charge (OIC) at the end of their shifts. Most narratives represent early and preliminary information that was gathered by an OIC from those in the field who were actively working cases. The OIC is sharing what they were being told, in the moment. In many instances, facts and circumstances, even the type of crime listed, can change as officers, detectives and investigators continue their work.
From 6:00 a.m. on 06/09/2020 through 6:00 a.m. on 06/10/2020, MPD received 342 calls for service. This number does not include parking complaints or 911 misdials. A breakdown of the calls for service per district is as follows: Central (44), East (60), Midtown (58), North (65), South (26), West (45), and Other (44). "Other" is used for calls that either do not have a sector or the sector is not in the City. This would be used in the case of one of our officers assisting another law enforcement agency.
- Priority calls only from 2:56 p.m. to 6:13 p.m. due to calls for service.
NORTH: Check Person – 6:42 a.m. Officers responded, along with EMS, to a residence to check the welfare of a subject having a possible mental health crisis. The subject was contacted and cooperative. EMS checked on the subject. The subject was released to his father. No further action deemed necessary by officers at this time.
CENTRAL: Recovered/Stolen Vehicle – 7:32 a.m. A stolen vehicle was located and recovered. Two suspects (39-year-old male and 29-year-old female) were arrested for operating a motor vehicle without consent. The male suspect was also charged with possession of meth and possession of drug paraphernalia.
NORTH: Death Investigation – 8:09 a.m. Officers were requested to check on a subject due to no contact in several days. The residence was entered and the subject (54-year-old male) was located deceased. The decedent had health concerns. Nothing suspicious observed. Medical Examiner's office responded.
EAST: Sexual Assault of a Child – 1:02 p.m. A juvenile male reported to his mother that he was sexually abused by a known suspect. The suspect (23-year-old male) was arrested on a probation hold. Investigation continuing.
MIDTOWN: Missing Adult – 1:07 p.m. Officers received a report of a missing adult (89-year-old male). Attempt to locate aired. Silver Alert issued. The subject was located safe.
EAST: Intoxicated Driver – 1:32 p.m. A traffic stop was conducted and the driver/suspect (36-year-old male) reported that he was involved in a crash. The suspect had visible injuries and told officers he was concerned about the safety of his girlfriend. Contact was made at the residence to check on the welfare of the occupants. Entry was made to the home and it was found vacant. At the residence drugs and a gun holster were observed in plain view. The suspect failed field sobriety tests and he was ultimately arrested for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence (4th offense). A handgun was located in the vehicle. The suspect was also charged with carrying a concealed weapon. The suspect's girlfriend was identified and contacted. Investigation continuing.
NORTH: Death Investigation – 2:06 p.m. Officers responded to a residence for a subject (37-year-old male) in need of emergency medical aid. The subject was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced deceased. The initial cause of death is suicide. Medical Examiner's office responded. Investigation continuing.
NORTH: Fight Call – 2:34 p.m. Officers responded to a residence where two victims (male and female) were both physically assaulted. Limited cooperation from witnesses. Investigation continuing.
NORTH: Assist EMS – 2:53 p.m. Officers, along with EMS, responded to a subject who cut himself. The subject was conveyed to a local hospital. Journey Mental Health consulted. An emergency detention was not supported/approved. A safety plan was developed and officers disengaged from the hospital.
MIDTOWN: Domestic Disturbance – 6:29 p.m. Officers responded to a disturbance between two subjects (female victim and 38-year-old male suspect) involving a knife. The suspect threatened to harm the victim. The suspect was arrested for domestic disorderly conduct while armed and domestic criminal damage to property from a prior incident.
CENTRAL: Fight Call – 10:54 p.m. Officers responded to a disturbance involving a female victim and a 26-year-old female suspect. The suspect physically attacked the victim. The suspect was walking down the middle of the street with traffic as officers arrived on scene. Officers stopped traffic to keep the suspect safe. The suspect was detained and she took a swing at officers (and struck one). The suspect continued to resist. The suspect was arrested/charged with disorderly conduct, resisting, battery, false imprisonment and battery to law enforcement.
EAST: Drug Incident – 1:07 a.m. Officers, along with EMS/MFD, responded to a residence for a subject/suspect (27-year-old female) experiencing a drug overdose. Naloxone was administered, which revived the suspect. The suspect admitted to taking oxycodone. Meth was located in the residence. The suspect was conveyed to a local hospital where she was given an order-in date for a felony possession of meth charge.
EAST: Domestic Disturbance – 1:38 a.m. Officers responded to a residence for a disturbance between two subjects (male victim and 37-year-old male suspect). The suspect threatened to kill the victim. The suspect was arrested for domestic disorderly conduct.
WEST: Death Investigation – 5:03 a.m. Officers responded to a residence for a deceased subject (52-year-old female). The decedent had health issues. Medical Examiner's office responded. Nothing suspicious observed.