La Crosse police to spend $6K on body cameras

Police said recent tensions fast-tracked need for cameras

The La Crosse Police Department always tries to save room in the budget for cutting-edge technology that can help them out on the job.

“We think they are a positive thing,” Sergeant Randy Rank said.

By May the station’s four Neighborhood Response Officers will each get a body-camera which they will wear while on duty.

“No matter where they’re at, where they are going they will have the capabilities to have everything record,” Rank said.

La Crosse began looking into purchasing the devices in early 2014 but say recent tensions fast tracked the need for it.

“Obviously with the event around the nation we said ‘we want to peruse this and keep moving forward’ and that’s where we are today,” Rank said.

The cameras will help verify what happens in the field.

“If there is a complaint made against an officer we will have both the audio and video to use and help us rectify whatever the situation is,” Rank said.

And gain convictions in court.

“It just helps so that we have a recording of what happens instead of relying on someone’s memory or interpretation of what happened,” District Attorney Tim Gruenke, said.

Each camera will cost about $1,500 that means, without the help of grant funding, it will cost the department $6,000.

“We believe we have enough funding to purchase the equipment we need, with a goal of eventually having our entire police force that will have these body cameras,” Rank said.