Rochester inks deal to buy police body cameras

Author:
Updated:
Original:

Police in Rochester will likely be wearing body cameras by the end of the year after the city council inked a deal to purchase 100 body cameras for the city's officers.

“We’re seeing what’s happening in other communities and we really don’t want that to happen in Rochester, Minnesota,” City Council President Randy Staver told ABC 6.

The city council voted 5-2 Monday to approve a contract with TASER International for nearly $87,000 to purchase the body cameras, equipment, and two years of video storage and management service, the city's website says.

Rochester, like many cities around the state, has been looking into police body cameras for months, but the city council decided in March to table making any decisions on them until June, after state lawmakers had discussed camera regulations during this year's legislative session, KTTC reported.

But state lawmakers left the issue unresolved – and the Rochester City Council decided to move forward with the contract anyway because the police department had been drafting its own policy for regulating the use of the cameras, which it based on the U.S. Department of Justice, International Association of Chiefs of Police and policies from other police departments, the Rochester Post Bulletin reported.

The policy hasn't been finalized yet, but the Rochester Post Bulletin notes it was solid enough for city officials to agree to purchase the cameras.

"Sometimes, if you know it can solve an important safety concern, it can be worth it to lead the way," Council Member Nick Campion told the Rochester Post Bulletin.

The newly formed Rochester Police Policy Oversight Commission, which is set to meet June 29, is expected to finalize the policy, which will then need to be approved before officers can start using the cameras, KROC says.

Protecting people's privacy is one of the main concerns with the body cameras – this is expected to be detailed in the department's policy.

“In terms of respecting people's privacy that’s the line that we are trying to follow is that if you have an expectation of privacy we respect that. Part of that is, letting you know when the camera is running and getting your permission when we do expect privacy,” Rochester Police Chief Roger Peterson told ABC 6.

Peterson told ABC 6 that officers will need six to eight weeks of training before using the cameras.

Minneapolis body camera rollout may be delayed

Minneapolis is among the other Minnesota cities looking to implement the use of police body cameras, but the rollout of the devices may be delayed, the Star Tribune reported last week.

The city, which has set aside more than $1 million for the program, is hoping to get federal funding of up to $600,000 from the U.S. Department of Justice to help pay for the cameras, MinnPost said.

This could delay the program, which was expected to debut this October, by five months. That's because the city can't buy the cameras before a decision is made on the federal grant request, which is expected to come this fall.

The cost of body camera programs has kept many departments across the country from implementing them, The Pew Charitable Trusts notes.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which believes with the right policies, body cameras are a "win for all," says about 25 percent of the nation's 17,000 police agencies are using body cameras, while 80 percent of all agencies are evaluating the technology.

Several Minnesota police departments already use body cameras. The Burnsville Police Department became the first in the state to implement a police body camera program a few years ago. Duluth outfitted its officers with cameras last year.

Moorhead is looking at introducing a body camera program, but is waiting on regulations from state lawmakers before moving forward, WDAY reported.

Next Up

radio station, microphone

MPR, The Current launch new weekly segment called 'The Warming House'

The program will feature feel-good entertainment amid the pandemic.

coronavirus, COVID-19 test

Dec. 3 COVID-19 update: 92 deaths marks MN's 2nd-highest total

The deaths continue to surge amid the worst of the pandemic so far.

mohamed amin bayle idd booking photo

2 men charged in connection to fatal shooting at Bloomington apartment complex

Shakur Freed Muhammed, 22, of Hopkins, was fatally shot Monday morning.

Screen Shot 2020-12-03 at 9.11.36 AM

Hewing Hotel finds workaround to shutdown, delivering 7-course meal to rooms

The hotel will convert guest rooms into dining rooms for three-hour reservations.

Jan and Chris Kruse

'Dateline' episode will explore Minnesota woman's unsolved murder

Jan Pigman-Kruse was fatally shot in her bed in 2015. Her husband was acquitted in the case.

124906958_401361401236047_6293747214536025849_o

Pandemic pushes need for cybersecurity, I.T. management professionals to the forefront

Enroll in a Master's course in one of these increasingly vital disciplines at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.

mike freeman

Hennepin County will eliminate bail system for certain non-violent crimes

The reform is backed by Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison.

Kirk Cousins

Coller: Vikings vs. Jags is a battle of retool vs. rebuild

Matthew Coller writes a weekly Vikings column for BMTN, with more of his work found at Purple Insider.

Screen Shot 2020-11-23 at 8.35.40 AM

More than 230,000 people have downloaded Minnesota's COVID exposure app

The more people who use the app, the more effective it is.

Ext_17

Despite pandemic, Life Time pushes ahead to open downtown co-working space

It was originally planned to open in the fall, but it has been pushed back to April.

shamrocks irish nook

The Nook issues plea, asks people to order from its other restaurant

Shamrocks Irish Nook has the same food as The Nook, the restaurant owners say.

Related