Registered Agency Spotlight: Village of Eagle Wisconsin Police Department

Eagle PD Body Camera PatchRegistered Police Department Spotlight: Village of Eagle Wisconsin Police Department

Department Donation Effort Contact: Captain Steven Lesniewski

Link: Department Website

Number of Officers: 8

Body Camera Goal: 4

Click here to donate to this department

Why has your department decided to start a body camera program?
Capt. Lesniewski: Eagle is located in SW Waukesha County, about 25 miles west of Milwaukee. The population is approximately 2,000.  In Wisconsin, that’s the way it’s going to go towards police using body cameras. We have other departments in our area that are using and studying body cameras. I really like the WOLFCOM body cameras which BodyCameraDonations.com offers. Our budget is tight, so body cameras are not a priority in our budget. Registering on BodyCameraDonations.com is a way for our department to speed up the process before they become mandatory.

How do you believe a body camera program will benefit your officers, department and the community? 
Capt. Lesniewski: There’s an officer accountability factor. What’s on the camera is what happened. People can remember things differently, but there’s that old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. The video shows exactly what happened. Body cameras will also be useful with DWI sobriety field tests. It’s very hard to describe after the fact how people behaved in DUI cases, but with video it’s captured for review. Body cameras protect the officers and the community both, especially in complaints against unnecessary use of force… the body camera video will show exactly what happened.

Are there any situations where having body camera video evidence would have made a difference in court cases or complaints against your officers?
Capt. Lesniewski: In cases of DWI stops. We had one incident recently where an officer pulled over a car with gang members in it and ended up finding three guns in the car. It would have been nice to have that on video because it would have been hard to argue with the video evidence given the statements they were making and the finding of the weapons. Another officer got into a fight after a suspect took a swing at him. Again would have been good to have it on video, because it’s hard to argue who started it when you have video of someone swinging an elbow at your officer.

Does your department have guidelines for a body camera policy? If so, what would the policy be? When would officers be required to record, etc.?
Capt. Lesniewski: Right now I’m helping another nearby department research and write a body camera policy, so I plan to adapt that policy for use in our department.