Madison officials voted 4-3 Monday in favor of increasing the proposed 2018 capital budget that will allow for the addition of a pilot program for police officer body cameras.
Alders Paul Skidmore, Barbara Harrington-McKinney and Mike Verveer voted in favor of the proposal, while Alders Sara Eskrich, Marsha Rummel and Zach Wood voted against the change. The breaking the tie was Mayor Paul Soglin, who moved to support the program.
$123,000 will be added to the budget in 2018 to allow for the needed costs of the cameras, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. This will include the purchase of 47 body cameras, the training that will be required for officers to operate them and the cost of overtime caused by the use of the cameras and the subsequent processing of footage.
The funds were originally set for a similar program to be enacted in the 2016 budget, but had been removed from the budget for this year.
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“It’s our goal [and] our hope that the budget will improve the quality of life in the city of Madison, to help make the city safer,” Skidmore said.
Moving into the future, Skidmore said there is “a lot to be in favor of” in regards to the budget, especially in its ability to continue providing cost-effective operations for both the city and infrastructure maintenance.
But, Skidmore said there are elements of the budget that could use change. The finance committee does “a lot” of borrowing to build things and to lend support to programs, such as the pilot camera project.
“Debt service is the third largest item on our operating budget. It’s like paying off a large credit card bill,” Skidmore said.
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For now, the budget changes remain intact and the pilot camera program is set to begin in 2018.