MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A City of Minneapolis audit of the police department’s Body Worn Camera Program, released Tuesday, found room for improvement.
The program came under scrutiny after Justine Damond was killed by a Minneapolis police officer in July.
None of the officers on scene had their cameras turned on.
Shortly after, new Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo changed the policy to require officers to turn on their cameras for every call.
Overall, the audit found more officers are using their body cameras since the policy changed. About 150 percent more than before, but the audit also found shortcomings in following and enforcing procedure.
On Tuesday morning, city council members listened as the city auditor laid out the weaknesses of the police department’s Body Worn Camera Program, which began last October.
“It looks like Chief Arradondo has a whole different starting line than he thought for picking up this program and running with it,” Ward 13 Council Member Linea Palmisano said.
Auditor Will Tetsell’s findings reveal that after the death of Justine Damond, when the new police chief mandated all officers turn on their body cameras every time they are dispatched, 29 percent of videos that should be there do not exist.
“There is the oversight piece and just the absence of videos where we would expect them to be,” Tetsell said. “That is huge, I think that is a big miss.”
The audit explored 56 unique criteria for the program. Under state law and of those areas, MPD failed or needs to enhance more than half.
The report also found some cameras not capturing a clear view of events, some cameras turned off before an event conclusion and some turned off without explanation.
The audit also recommends supervisors do a better job of reviewing the footage.
“You have to start reviewing the camera footage and get the procedures into place before you can start to discipline someone,” Tetsell said.
Assistant Minneapolis Police Chief Mike Kjos also attended the meeting.
“We take these findings very seriously,” Kjis said. “We haven’t had an opportunity to see them yet so we are ready to dig into this and see where we go from here.”
The city council has asked the auditor to continue monitoring the program and touch base again by the end of this year.
Officers are to fill out a report about why the camera was not turned on if they do not turn them on. Those reports were not consistently found through the audit.