MILWAUKEE, Wis. -Milwaukee Mayer Tom Barrett signed into law a new requirement for city convenience stores to have at least two high-definition surveillance cameras to record the comings and goings of customers, the Milwaukee News Buzz reports. Earlier this month, the city€™s Common Council approved the bill, which had been pushed by the Milwaukee Police Department.
The measure replaces the old ordinance that allowed convenience stores to have one camera that produced "reproducible digital color images." The new regulations require retailers to install at least two "high resolution surveillance security cameras." The rules even dictate where the camera lens must capture: one at the entrance and one on the cash register area.
The law also changes how the video will be recorded. Instead of on videotapes, now images must be stored on recordable DVDs or CDs that are not rewritable. Retailers have to keep the CDs or DVDs for at least 30 days.
"In some cases where the cameras are older and haven€™t been updated, the resolution is really not as good as it could be," said Alderman Michael Murphy, who sponsored the bill.
Under the new law, many stores will have to replace their current taping systems with new digital ones, while some will have to add a second camera. "Digital cameras now are substantially cheaper than they€™ve ever been," said Murphy. "It€™s the cost of doing business€¦More eyes on the scene of where customers are doing business and on the employees provides greater safety and security."
Murphy emphasized that the new rules are to help catch suspects who committed crimes, such as robberies.
Only one member voted against the ordinance. "This is government helping save us from ourselves," said Alderman Jim Bohl. "There€™s an imposition to business owners. While I think it is clearly something business owners should do, it also becomes a point where we start providing mandates and it potentially becomes a slippery slope and an additional cost of doing business."