MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — After two years of preparations, St. Paul police officers are being equipped with body worn cameras.

Tuesday marked the first day officers began wearing the cameras. About 30 officers are now wearing the cameras.

As more are trained in, more will wear the cameras. The $750,000-a-year-program will be fully implemented by the end of the year, when about 450 officers will wear the cameras as part of their daily duties.

The police department began working on the camera program in 2015, studying similar programs from other departments, holding numerous community meetings and conducting a two-month pilot program.

The pilot program ended in January of 2017. After that, the department crafted policy, selected its camera vendor and purchased more than 500 cameras.

“Our officers regularly respond to difficult situations, and I am confident that the body worn camera program will capture the professionalism and compassion that we deliver to those we serve,” Saint Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell said. “While not a panacea, the cameras will help us build trust, increase transparency and deliver better results.”

In accordance with the body worn camera policy, officers are required to activate their devices when they are:

• dispatched to or investigating any call or incident
• assisting another officer at a call or incident
• participating in vehicle stops, vehicle pursuits, investigative stops of individuals
• initiating arrests
• frisking and searching individuals
• encountering or responding to resistance or aggression
• involved in any situation that becomes adversarial
• transporting people who are in custody
• conducting interviews in the field.

Click here for more information on the program.


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