Proposed Milwaukee County Lakeside Beach Monitoring System

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Ensure your security or invade your privacy? More and more cities in the United States are installing surveillance cameras in public places to fight crime.

The Milwaukee County Sheriff wants to keep an eye out for beach goers. A Milwaukee County official said real-time remote monitoring of the county’s lakeside beaches went too far.

It’s probably not what you expect from a day at the beach, but if Milwaukee County Sheriff Earnell Lucas gets his way, people on the county’s beaches would be on camera every day. at any time.

“It might be a deterrent to someone saying if it’s here then I’m going somewhere else,” Lucas said.

The edge of Lake Milwaukee is crowded during the summer. And where the crowds go, crime sometimes follows.

“The intention here is not to establish some kind of surveillance state,” said Ted Chisholm, chief of staff to the sheriff.

On Tuesday, October 12, the sheriff’s office offered a $ 700,000 lakeside surveillance system with remote-controlled cameras that tilt, move and zoom.

The sheriff’s office said the purpose of the camera system is to document what is happening on the beach in the hopes of solving the crime, but also to monitor live by the lake, in real life.time.

“The capability of the camera system would allow both,” Chisholm said.

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“For me, this sounds like a great excuse to continue to monitor the population and invest in population removal,” said Mark Staniszewski, beach goers.

Milwaukee County Supervisor Ryan Clancy said real-time monitoring of law-abiding citizens was inappropriate.

“There are very few public spaces where young people in particular can go out in public,” Clancy said. “Watching people while they’re right by the lake going about their own business. Like, throwing Frisbees. You know, lunch. Building sandcastles. That’s a line I don’t want. cross.”

Instead, Clancy wants to spend the proposed money to repair the county parks. But the budget battle is more than money, it is a clash between security and surveillance.

The sheriff’s chief of staff said they had dealt with violent crimes by the lake in recent years, including a 2020 shooting death in Bradford Beach. They also occasionally used temporary pole cameras, which provided evidence that aided the investigation into a non-fatal shooting earlier this year. He said permanent cameras could make it easier to monitor crowds from a distance.

Meanwhile, Clancy plans to come up with a budget amendment that would shift the $ 700,000 to other county priorities.

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