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Hidden cost of police body cameras: Storing all that video gets pricey

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As more police departments equip their officers with body cameras, they'll also need to outfit their budgets with a new item: the cost of storing all the video footage.

Duluth Police Chief Gordon Ramsey tells the Associated Press the cost of data storage is "enormous."

Ramsey says Duluth's 110 police cameras generate 8,000 to 10,000 videos per month, all of which are stored for at least 30 days, often longer.

He tells the AP Duluth bought 84 cameras from Taser International for less than $5,000 but a three-year contract for data storage costs about $78,000.

In its analysis, the Associated Press analyzed invoices and contracts from around the country. Managing the data will cost some departments millions, perhaps forcing some police chiefs into difficult financial choices about whether to pay for officers or for video storage.

The St. Cloud Times says Becker's police chief hopes to have officers wearing cameras by the end of this year. They would join a growing list of Minnesota cities with camera-equipped cops. Just this week, St. Paul and Hastings approved cameras.

Supporters of their use say the video footage holds officers and citizens alike more accountable for their actions, reducing excessive force and groundless accusations.

Minneapolis and Rochester are among several other Minnesota departments using cameras, at least on a trial basis.

One of the issues still being negotiated is who should have access to the police videos.

Civil liberties groups argue the footage should be available to the public, but a bill introduced at the state Capitol last week would limit access to law enforcement personnel and the people who appear in the videos.

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