Chief Zyburt goes to Washington

CHOCOLAY TOWNSHIP — It’s not every day that a law enforcement official from the U.P. gets to visit the White House to share his expertise, but a police chief in Marquette County has done just that.

Chief Greg Zyburt of the Chocolay Township Police was invited to Washington, D.C., last week to participate in a discussion about the implementation and use of body cameras on police officers. Zyburt’s department has been using the devices for around seven years, leading to the invitation to help construct a potential future toolkit for agencies across the nation to follow.

“A department that has never used it could say this is what we need,” said Zyburt. “We need policies, procedures, this is the type of body camera, how to use it — so they could take that and adapt it to their department, be it a large department or a small rural department and that’s where I came in and gave my two cents worth.”

The chief brought a small department perspective to the discussion, and added that there are infrastructure concerns that agencies getting on board with cameras need to take into consideration.

“You have to have the memory to download it on external drives. You have to have the prosecutor’s office that has the same software — or the judges — so everyone can see or read. So, there’s a lot of additional costs that you don’t think about,” Zyburt added.

One of the takeaways from other agencies at the conference was the issue of confidentiality in body camera recordings. The chief plans to review Chocolay’s policies on releasing recordings in the future.