Reporting Edgar Linares
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Some Minneapolis city leaders believe fitting police officers with cameras on their uniforms can save the city money and protect officers from frivolous complaints.
On Thursday, council members Betsy Hodges, Gary Schiff and Cam Gordon showed the body cameras to members of the media.
“It would mean a reduction in police misconduct cases,” Hodges said. “What they’ve shown in other places is you do get a reduction in complaints, but also in use of force.”
Schiff said in August that they began getting inquiries about the cameras from constituents. He then notified Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau, who had been researching the devices.
Council members then ran with the idea, and came up with $25,000 for a pilot program. They hope to have 25 officers wearing the recording devices in the coming months.
“Every city that has done a pilot has ended up launching a full program,” Hodges said.
The three council members would like to have more than 500 officers using the devices in the near future.
Hodges said by recording officer and suspect encounters, council members believe there would be a reduction in complaints of “use of force.”
“These cameras start saving money the moment they get turned on,” Schiff said. “You get clear evidence. You get a clear recording of officer’s actions. It captures their verbal commands to suspects.”
The New York Daily News reported in August that ever Rialto, Calif., officers began using the cameras there has been an 88 percent drop in formal complaints against police.
During the news conference, no police officers were present for the announcement, and Harteau was out of town. A spokesperson for the Minneapolis Police Department said there has not been any discussion of rolling out the pilot program within Minneapolis police.
The cameras can be mounted on eye glasses or on a police officer’s chest. The creators of the cameras, Taser International, plan to demonstrate the technology sometime next week.