If you’re stopped by a Minneapolis police officer in the near future, you’ll want to smile, because you might be on camera.
The Minneapolis Police Department has equipped 36 officers with body cameras as part of a pilot program aimed at preventing police brutality and citizen complaints. The officers will wear the cameras for six to nine months in order for the city to fully evaluate their effectiveness. If the pilot program is successful, the city hopes to outfit all of its officers by late 2015.
Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau said the cameras have the potential to pay for themselves by preventing claims against officers.
“This technology will protect our officers from false and frivolous claims, saving time and money in the process,” Harteau said.
Mayor Betsy Hodges added that the cameras will also help keep officers accountable for their actions.
“It brings increased accountability and transparency for both the police officers and for the public moving forward, which is a benefit to everybody, and a benefit to public safety,” Hodges said at a press conference.
Minneapolis is the latest Minnesota city to adopt police body cameras. Departments in Burnsville, Farmington and Duluth have already equipped their officers with body cameras, and early reports suggest they have been successful.
The only real issue that some people have with the cameras is that they don’t record all the time. The recorder can be turned on and off at the officer’s discretion, which has led to some concerns about hiding the true nature of encounter. Harteau said they are training their officers to turn their cameras on during every public encounter. They believe this process will make it easier to review the tapes.
Related source: Star-Tribune, Kare 11