County committee approves grant funds for sheriff’s department, receives update on body cameras

cameras; county committee; kenosha county; county board; kenosha journalist; uptown observer

KENOSHA ⸺ During a Wednesday night meeting, the Kenosha County Judiciary and Law Committee approved accepting $400,000 in grant funds.

The funds will be used to reimburse the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department for costs incurred during what officials call the “civil unrest” experience locally in August and September 2020.

Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department Captain Justin Miller also gave the committee an update on where the department is at on equipping deputies with body cameras

According to Miller, the department should be ready to roll out body cams now by May. The department had previously hoped to roll them out in April. 

Sheriff’s department grant funds

Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth presented solicited grant funding for approval via resolution. 

The funds, coming from a total $1 million split between the county and city, will be used to cover costs the department incurred while working during times of “civil unrest” in August and September 2020. 

“If you remember back on Sept. 1, President Trump came here,” Beth said. “He said he was going to give us $1 million. The next day, I had Washington, D.C. call up and state that, ‘Sheriff, we have a million dollar. Can you share this with the city police department?’ I said sure. 

“The next day they called back and said, ‘We made a mistake. We have to give this to the police department, and they’re going to share it with you.’ I said, ‘We’ll be fine. That’ll be just fine.’”

In the end, the Kenosha Police Department kept 60% of the grant money, while giving the sheriff’s department 40%.

“So basically, what we’re doing: It’s a million-dollar grant. We’re getting $400,000 of it.”

However, according to department officials, the $400,000, though covering shared expenses and $100,000 of overtime, leaves $300,000 yet to be recovered.

Beth explains city/county grant proportion breakdown

According to Beth, the KPD was entirely in charge of how much funding the sheriff’s department received from the grant.

Beth gave an answer to that effect after County Supervisor Jerry Gulley asked him to explain why the funds were broken down how they were.

“The numbers, it fluctuated between the city wanted 80% and we got 20%, and they finally agreed upon we’ll give you 40 (percent) and you get 60 (percent),” Beth said. “We weren’t in charge of it. The city decided what proportion we got of the million dollars. 

“And it basically boiled down to that.” 

The committee unanimously approved the resolution accepting the grant funds Wednesday evening. 

Body cam process running smoothly

After that vote, Miller gave his update on where the department is in getting body cams on its deputies. 

According to Miller, the department just completed the first step of implementation: Sending uniforms out for retrofitting in order to properly carry the cameras. 

“The first step was sending all of our outer carriers for those who wanted their outer carriers ⸺ their bulletproof vest, their jackets ⸺ sent out and then those that just wanted their uniform shirts only, we sent some of those out,” Miller said.

“We haven’t gotten uniform shirts back, but we have all of the vest carriers back already, which is ahead of schedule.”

BodyWorn to tour the department later this month

The vendor of the department’s body cameras, BodyWorn, will also be conducting a site visit on March 23, Miller said. 

“They’ll be touring the PSB complex because there’s what’s called ‘waypoints’. Which is an off-loading point for the video. And then both jail facilities will have waypoints of their own for off-loading,” Miller said. 

The company will also be setting up its in-squad system on a platform the department can use while waiting for full installation and implementation.

BodyWorn to come back to install in April

BodyWorn will return to the sheriff’s department on April 26 to start installing squad car cameras and getting training underway on the systems for deputies and correctional officers. 

“So it’s a lot of moving parts right now,” Miller said.

However, there have been no major setbacks in the process.

“It is moving along smoothly,” Miller said. “We haven’t had any hiccups yet.”

“And it’s just a lot of coordinating and planning and making sure that everything gets implemented by, we’re hopeful, May.”

Security of footage

Miller states that, when a deputy has a case tied to a video or a supervisor is review a case, they will have access to the pertinent videos on file.

However, anything outside of what is claimed for cases will only be able to be accessed by three administrators, Miller told the committee. 

“The random videos, our every day occurrences that do not require it to be tagged to a case, there’s only going to be three admins that will have access to that video,” Miller said. “And that’s the PIO (public information officer), the sergeant who is in charge of this entire thing and then myself.”

Watermark to stop manipulation, leaks

A unique aspect of BodyWorn’s video ⏤ in fact, one of the reasons the department chose it ⏤ is how the company handles watermarks.

In its videos, BodyWorn puts its watermark “dead center,” Miller said. 

The watermark also contains the name of the officer whose camera the video came from.

“So if you see things on the media right now, you see different vendors … it’s down in the right or left-hand or upper (part of the screen),” Miller said. “You can move those around the outside frame. Those videos can still be screenshotted. Or you can take a video of it and zoom in and zoom out and you’ll never know who released that video. 

“With this, the watermark is dead center. There is no secondary ‘put it out there to the public or the media’ without knowing exactly who did it.”

Upfront costs cover first year

Answering a question from Supervisor David Celebre, Miller said that the department has paid BodyWorn about $425,000 upfront. 

However, that’s all the department will pay for a year, he explained. Everything that the company will do ⏤ the site visit, retrofitting, new uniforms, squad builds ⏤ is covered by that amount. 

“That’s our first payment,” Miller said. “Once all that is received, we don’t pay anything until next year. It’s a service-based agreement more so than physical things, I guess is the best way to say it.”


Support the Observer Family

One-Time
Monthly
Yearly

Make a one-time donation

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount

$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00

Or enter a custom amount

$

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly

Subscribe to Free Email Alerts

Donate to The Uptown Observer

One-Time
Monthly
Yearly

Make a one-time donation

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount

$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00

Or enter a custom amount

$

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly

Our Archives


Our Most Used Tags

'What About Last Night' (26) Around the Scene (24) city committees (18) City Council (58) city government (46) City News (110) city of kenosha (75) civil unrest (18) community (25) community resources (15) covid (35) covid-19 (42) covid-19 vaccine (18) daniel thompson (157) From County Chambers … (29) government (33) health (30) Humanity-Centered Stories (42) kenosha (251) kenosha county (103) kenosha county board (22) kenosha county division of health (17) kenosha county sheriff's department (43) kenosha creative space (15) kenosha fire department (16) kenosha fusion (17) kenosha journalist (151) kenosha music (58) kenosha police (67) kenosha police department (26) live music (55) music (58) musicians (47) music photography (41) music scene (59) open mic (17) photography (19) police (25) rescue (19) social issues (100) social justice (24) thatkenoshajournalist (112) the uptown observer (72) uptown kenosha (18) uptown observer (263)


Our Most Used Tags

'What About Last Night' (26) Around the Scene (24) city committees (18) City Council (58) city government (46) City News (110) city of kenosha (75) civil unrest (18) community (25) community resources (15) covid (35) covid-19 (42) covid-19 vaccine (18) daniel thompson (157) From County Chambers … (29) government (33) health (30) Humanity-Centered Stories (42) kenosha (251) kenosha county (103) kenosha county board (22) kenosha county division of health (17) kenosha county sheriff's department (43) kenosha creative space (15) kenosha fire department (16) kenosha fusion (17) kenosha journalist (151) kenosha music (58) kenosha police (67) kenosha police department (26) live music (55) music (58) musicians (47) music photography (41) music scene (59) open mic (17) photography (19) police (25) rescue (19) social issues (100) social justice (24) thatkenoshajournalist (112) the uptown observer (72) uptown kenosha (18) uptown observer (263)

1 Comment

Leave a Reply