MPD Body Camera Audit Shows Need For Improvements

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Two months after Minneapolis police were criticized for a lax body camera policy, an independent audit reveals the need for improvements.

The department took sharp criticism after the shooting of Justine Damond, because the officers involved in the shooting did not have their cameras activated. On Wednesday, a city council committee heard from the auditors who poured through the data.

At Minneapolis City Hall, some called the audit incomplete.

State law requires periodic audits of police body cameras. But since the Minneapolis policy is so new, it wasn’t due for some time. Events this summer changed that.

The intent is to restore public trust and enhance accountability. But the early audit reveals there’s a long way to go.

MPD’s body camera policy is just nine months old. But already, city council members are seeing the problems of such a high profile policy.

“We saw 11 percent of all calls not categorized,” an auditor said.

On Wednesday, city auditors reported findings to the Public Safety, Civil Rights and Emergency Management Committee. It found problems with activation, sporadic usage and delayed uploading after an officer’s shift.

“Those kind of issues are coming to light the more we dig into this,” Assistant Chief Mike Kjos said.

The audit was initiated after officers involved in the Justine Damond shooting didn’t have cameras activated. The two-month review found a third of the time cameras weren’t turned on.

Assistant Chief Mike Kjos told the committee it’s a complex technology and policy that needs fine tuning.

“One of the good things is about the process taking place right now is it allows us to see spots that were missed or just not thought of,” Kjos said.

Council member Cam Gordon called the audit rushed and incomplete, not up to city standards. And wants a police department response included in the final report.

“All the other audits I’ve seen we have finding, fieldwork and response, finding, fieldwork, response. And here we have fieldwork and no response. Nowhere is there a response,” Gordon said.

The committee passed two motions which would require quarterly reports, beginning next year.

Meantime, work continues retrofitting all of the city’s squads to automatically activate body cameras anytime emergency lights come on.

More from Bill Hudson
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