Janesville72.7°

Cameras to assist police in Edgerton

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Catherine W. Idzerda
February 3, 2010
— Protect, serve and record.

It’s not a bad motto for the modern age.


In October, Edgerton police officers added a new accessory to their uniforms, and it’s one they say benefits both officers and the public: video cameras.


“It’s very helpful,” said Edgerton Police Chief Tom Klubertanz. “The camera is a great eye-witness.”


The cameras, which are about the size of a flip phone with the cover closed, cost $4,517 and were paid for by a grant secured by the Edgerton Coalition for a Healthy Community.


The grant came from the federal government’s Drug Free Communities, a program designed to encourage community leaders, business, parents and youth to become involved in with local drug prevention efforts.


Each of the department’s 10 officers has a camera.


“These cameras are better than the squad-mounted cameras,” Klubertanz said. “These can go with us to houses, to underage drinking parties, on traffic stops—on any complaint.”


The cameras, which also record sound, can help the police with ordinary chores such as writing reports, are valuable in courtroom and provide material for training purposes.


They also protect officers from “he said-she said” situations in which people complain about police intervention.


Such camera and recording devices are legal in Wisconsin.


Daniel Blinka, a Marquette University criminal law professors earlier told the Gazette: “In terms of privacy concerns, there are really none. Anytime we deal with a police officer, we have no reasonable expectation of privacy.”


The Janesville Police Department has about 25 cameras and “quite a few of them” are out on any given shift, Police Chief David Moore said.


The cameras, called Vidmics, attach to the officers’ uniforms.


The devices are useful in virtually every situation, from traffic stops to search warrants, Moore said.



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