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Ashwaubenon officers will soon have body cameras

By Heather Graves

ASHWAUBENON – Every Ashwaubenon Public Safety officer will soon be equipped with body cameras thanks in part to a donation from the Green Bay Packers, Chief Brian Uhl announced Friday, May 7.

“With the support of the Packers and their generous donation, we were able to get this done this year, as opposed to, my goal was to get it in a year or two down the road,” Uhl said.

The five-year, nearly $500,000 contract with Axon includes 51 body cameras, nearly a dozen in-car dash cameras, 20 updated Tasers that officers will share throughout shifts and unlimited online storage.

The Packers committed $116,000 to help offset the cost of the contract’s first year.

The village will be responsible for the remaining cost.

“Without the contribution from the Green Bay Packers, this would not have been a program that would have been implemented this year for sure,” said Village President Mary Kardoskee. “It is a great tool for all law enforcement to have.”

The contract with Axon will afford the village an additional savings of $82,919.

It’s an initiative Uhl has been working toward implementing since joining the department last year.

“Really, it’s a protection for our officers,” Uhl said. “Instead of a small clip of what may be captured on a cellphone, it provides the entire picture for everyone to see and analyze. I think this will validate that what we’re doing out there is the correct thing.”

The cameras can be turned on and off manually by officers but are also set to turn on automatically when an officer draws a weapon or activates their lights or sirens.

“When officers are under stress, they’re not necessarily thinking about turning on their cameras, so with this system and the automated features, it helps officers out so they can deal with whatever critical situation they’re dealing with,” he said. “If we are on a scene, for example, and we have someone who pulls their Taser, pulls their firearm, whatever it may be, all the cameras will signal and active, not only the officer that is there but any other officer in about a 30-foot radius will signal and turn on as well.”

Uhl said dash cameras are in the process of being installed now with body camera deployment happening as soon as possible.

The Green Bay Police Department deployed body cameras earlier this year, also with the help of the Packers.

Up next, Brown County.

“We’ve initiated discussions with the county for an opportunity for them to take a look at it,” said Green Bay Packers Director of Public Affairs Aaron Popkey. “My understanding is their process is still ongoing.”

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