Body cameras on Minneapolis officers could 'revolutionize policing'


In an effort to reduce complaints of misconduct and police brutality, the Minneapolis City Council approved $400,000 to outfit two thirds of the city's police force with body cameras, FOX 9 reports.

The tiny cameras that can be attached to uniforms or glasses capture the perspective of an on-duty officer and could "revolutionize policing," Councilman Gary Schiff told the television station.

Schiff cites a 2012 study in Rialto, California -- one of the few places where the impact of the cameras have been studied -- where officers wearing body cameras saw an 88 percent drop in complaints compared to the previous 12 months.

The study also showed there was nearly a 60 percent drop in use of force among officers wearing cameras.

“When you put a camera on a police officer, they tend to behave a little better, follow the rules a little better,” Rialto Police Chief William Farrar told the New York Times. “And if a citizen knows the officer is wearing a camera, chances are the citizen will behave a little better.”

Minneapolis has seen its share of high-priced police misconduct lawsuits, the Star Tribune points out. Over the last seven years, $14 million has been paid out in settlements.

If the results of the study hold true, the cameras should pay for themselves and might even save the city money.

Farrar says his department has also been looking into whether the video evidence is leading to more convictions, the New York Times reported.

FOX 9 says the Burnsville Police Department was first in the state to begin using body cameras. The small town of Gilbert on the Iron Range has also adopted the cameras.

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