MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Minneapolis police are rolling out new technology they hope will not only help in fighting crime but also enhance transparency and accountability.

The new police department website will allow the community to interact with officers.

The new design is user friendly and will hopefully get more people involved in “community policing.”

On Monday, the MPD was awarded a $600,000 grant to help fund body camera worn by officers. This new technology will transform MPD’s approach to policing.

Part of the department’s mission is to be more accountable and transparent, something it believes it can do better with the help of body cameras.

“I’m please that the [Department of Justice] believes in our pilot program and the direction we are going with body cameras [to the extent] that they would invest over half a million dollars,” Police Chief Janeé Harteau said.

Harteau said most street officers want the cameras. In other cities, body cameras have helped decrease the use of force and complaints of excessive force. The department hopes this new technology does the same here.

Minneapolis police are also ready for a more interactive approach to policing.

“There is a whole online society right now and as a police department, or any organization, you have to have the ability to connect with those folks,” Harteau said.

Harteau says the department’s new website will bring people inside MPD.

“It’s about transparency, showing the intricacies, the day-in, day-out activities of the police department and community engagement,” Harteau said.

People can find information about on-going incidents and details on police programs.

You’ll also find recent crime stats, crime prevention tips and a section dedicated to cold cases.

“What we’re looking for with this website is a way to connect with the community to remind them that we are still looking at these cases,” said Major Crimes Commander Catherine Johnson, “in the hopes that people with information will come forward and bring us the one piece we might need to get those cases solved.”

Unsolved cases, like the shooting death of 3-year-old Terrell Mayes, Jr., are on the site. The site features stories about Mayes and other victims, told by family and friends.

“There are some powerful stories on there that I hope will help generate some interest and some feedback and, frankly, some leads,” Johnson said.

The new website, InsideMPD.com, also has a “Have You Seen This Suspect?” page, that lists some of the most wanted suspects in Minneapolis and gives information about how you can help bring them to justice.

Harteau said Minneapolis is one of the first departments in the country to use this type of interactive website to engage the public.

Reg Chapman