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Police body cameras: Rochester testing, Minneapolis still coming

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It's the invasion of the body cameras.

Add another city to the list of Minnesota police departments potentially outfitting officers with recording devices that can be attached to police uniforms, hats or eyeglasses.

After months of discussion, the Minneapolis Police Department will begin testing the body cameras in three different precincts beginning this fall, KSTP reports – the 1st precinct (downtown Minneapolis), the 4th precinct (north Minneapolis) and the 5th (southwest Minneapolis).

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Earlier this year the Minneapolis Police Department had announced some officers would begin testing body cameras by this summer. Now, KSTP reports the testing is expected to start with a few dozen officers as early as late September, but might not get going until October.

Other departments around the state are already using similar cameras.

ABC 6 reports the Rochester Police Department is currently using some body cameras on a trial basis. The department doesn't have a timeline for when – or if – it will adopt a broader policy, the station reports.

Duluth outfitted its entire uniformed roster with body cameras last week, making it the biggest department in the state to adopt such a policy.

Officers won’t be required to keep the devices on at all times, WDIO reports.

Instead, they’ll be required to turn the camera on and begin recording before any interaction with a person, the station says. Video will then be automatically uploaded to the department, WDIO explains, but won’t be randomly reviewed unless there’s a complaint against the officer or some other legal reason to do so.

Footage cannot be edited or deleted from the body camera, Northland’s News Center notes.

The Burnsville Police Department was first in the state to begin using body cameras.

Minneapolis' move to give police officers cameras moved forward last December, as part of 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.

Proponents say the cameras – which capture the perspective of an officer – could save the city money in unnecessary litigation fees from false allegations of police wrongdoing.

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