The Minneapolis Police Department will officially roll out the body camera pilot program Friday, Nov. 7 — an initiative city leaders hope will bring more transparency and accountability to the department.
Guidelines for how the police body cameras will be used during the pilot project will be released to the public Nov. 6.
The City Council approved contracts with two vendors — Taser International and VIEVU — in mid-September for body camera equipment. Thirty-six officers from MPD’s 1st (downtown/Cedar Riverside), 4th (North Side) and 5th (southwest) precincts will be participating in the sixth-month pilot project.
“Body cameras have been shown to decrease both use of force and complaints about excessive force,” said Mayor Betsy Hodges. “When there are questions about an interaction, body cameras provide more transparency. I want to thank the Minneapolis Police Department employees for their work to learn the equipment and move this initiative forward.”
Hodges has proposed spending $1.14 million in 2015 to get the body camera program up and running citywide next year.
Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau said the program furthers the goals outlined in her MPD 2.0 plan. “We believe body cameras will help MPD officers avoid false or inaccurate claims following the difficult interactions they face each and every day,” she said.
The goal of the pilot project is to determine which body camera system produces the best video and audio, is easiest to use and holds up the best during the Minnesota winter, among other things.
Video data from the body cameras will be stored in a cloud system and will be subject to the Minnesota Data Practices Act.
A rollout of the body cameras citywide is expected to take place late 2015.