For the last 6 months, 3 dozen Minneapolis police officers wore body cameras as part of a pilot program, and now the public will get a chance to discuss if, and how those body cameras should be used in the future.
"We want to know, does the public support the officers wearing body cameras and what policy considerations does the public have on the use of body cameras?" Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau asked at the Police Conduct Oversight Commission meeting.
The Commission says it will host the first of 3 listening sessions later this month to hear citizens' thoughts about when the video should be public versus private, when to turn the cameras off and on, and how the video should be stored.
"There are two groups of people, those who want them on all the time and those who are particular about who's on the video camera. So, how do we satisfy both of those? To me, we bring it to the community and ask them," Harteau said.
The Minneapolis Police Department is also applying for a $600,000 grant from the Justice Department to help buy equipment for and train all 615 officers to use body cameras. The goal is to roll them out department-wide by Feb. 1
In the meantime, examples like this of a Minneapolis police officer using threats and obscenities during a traffic stop earlier this year are becoming far too common. The Commission says bad language and attitude are the most common complaints against officers, so it's looking to make the department's code of conduct regarding inappropriate language clearer and more understandable for officers, and include more accountability if they cross the line.
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"Anytime an employee makes a person feel disrespected or lose their dignity, it's important for us to address that," Harteau said.