Skip to main content

Body cameras for Minnepolis police: Residents weigh in

  • Author:
  • Updated:

Minneapolis residents had a chance Saturday to share their thoughts about body cameras worn by city police officers.

The city's police department recently finished a six-month pilot program, where 36 officers from three precincts wore body cameras. Now the department plans to outfit all 600 of its officers with the cameras, and is seeking input from residents on how they should be used, according to KSTP.

Minneapolis is moving forward with police body cameras as part of an effort to reduce complaints of misconduct and police brutality. The cameras – which capture the perspective of the officer – could also save the city money in unnecessary litigation fees from false allegations of police wrongdoing.

At Saturday's public hearing, about 20 city residents came and spoke mostly in favor of having police use the equipment, MPR News reports.

But other questions remain, such as whether police should keep the cameras running at all times, whether a citizen should be able to ask that the camera be turned off and whether there should be consequences if an officer fails to activate a camera.

C.J. Czaia, a criminal defense attorney, said he believes body cameras should be kept on at all times.

"If [a police officer is] against it that means you're probably doing something wrong, because if you're doing it right you want that backup," he said, according to MPR News.

Others said spending money on body cameras is a "distraction" that's taking away attention from the real issue of police misconduct, MPR News notes.

Another major question surrounding body cameras is who can have access to the video. Privacy advocates are concerned that video that's available to the public could cause embarrassment to people who are recorded interacting with police. But others say keeping the video private would contradict the purpose of using the body cameras in the first place.

Video storage - an expensive proposition

Storage of all the video could be pricey for police departments.

For example, Duluth's 110 police officers wear body cameras and generate up to 10,000 videos per month. All of the video segments are stored for at least 30 days, and the cost of that data storage is "enormous," Duluth Police Chief Gordon Ramsey told the Associated Press.

Ramsey said 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 an analysis of body camera contracts from cities around the country, the Associated Press determined that managing the data will cost some departments millions, forcing some to choose whether to pay for officers or for video storage.

Minneapolis has set aside more than $1 million for the body camera program, but is hoping to cover some of that cost with a federal grant of up to $600,000, the Star Tribune reports.

Saturday's forum was the first of three that are scheduled. The next two are on July 11 and July 25, KSTP notes. The police department hopes to have the body cameras running by early 2016.

Rochester recently approved a contract to buy body cameras for its police department, and expects the program to be implemented before the end of the year.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-11-28 at 5.39.25 PM

Couple critically injured in Kanabec County home attack identified

Jeff and Becky Ponto were found critically injured in their home Sunday morning.

police tape

Assault charges filed against Red Wing man shot by deputy

The reportedly suicidal man crashed his van into a power pole before he allegedly began chasing a deputy at the scene.

Winter scene snow storm snowfall highway driving traffic - Joe Nelson Feb 2022 4

Winter storm warning for Twin Cities: 6+ inches possible

The heaviest snow could move through the Twin Cities.

police lights

Carver man charged after standoff with police in Prior Lake

The man had been fleeing from police when he allegedly broke into a home and the standoff ensued.


41-year-old Sherburne County man killed after crashing car into ditch

The crash occurred Sunday night in Palmer Township.

Screen Shot 2022-11-28 at 4.01.10 PM

Around 200 rescued after ice breaks free on Upper Red Lake

Red Lake — both Upper and Lower — is the largest freshwater lake in the state.

Screen Shot 2022-11-28 at 9.38.30 AM

St. Paul featured on Hallmark Channel's 'Christmas Cam' livestream

Downtown's dazzling display can be viewed from anywhere in the world.


Charges: Drunk driver almost struck Bemidji parade spectators

The man told police he was trying to attend the parade himself.


The SCHEELS Experience

Whether looking for reliable hunting and fishing gear or new clothing and shoes, Eden Prairie SCHEELS is a one-stop shopping experience for the whole family.


Charges: Man fatally shot ex's new partner as he dined at Bloomington restaurant

Criminal charges filed Monday detail an alleged motive in the shooting.