MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - The Minneapolis Police Department released its final body camera policy Wednesday in a special order from Chief Janee Harteau. The policy defines situation in which nearly 600 Minneapolis officers will be required to activate their body cameras and when they can deactivate them. It also outlines how body camera data will be stores and how it will be handled during investigations.
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton signed a bill toward the end of the 2016 legislative session that restricts most body camera footage from public review. Under that law, bodycam video showing the discharge of a weapon or use of force resulting in “substantial bodily harm” would be released to the public at the conclusion of an investigation, but other requests to release footage would be subject to the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act.
MPD’s goals for bodycams
1. Enhance accountability and public trust by preserving evidence of officer interaction with
2. Capture digital audio/video evidence for criminal, civil and traffic-related court cases.
3. Assist officers with recalling facts or other details captured by the equipment that will help
them accurately articulate a chain of events when writing reports.
4. Serve as a training tool for officer safety and best practices in the MPD.
5. Assist in the assessment of contacts between officers and the public by reviewing
procedures and interpersonal actions.
The policy explicitly states that bodycams “shall not be used for the purpose of intimidating or discouraging an individual from observing police activity, making appropriate inquiries to the police or making a complaint.”
Off-duty officers must wear bodycams
Officers assigned bodycam should use them during approved, off-duty work within the city of Minneapolis, the policy states. But officers assigned a bodycam should not wear them if they are working for another law enforcement agency.
Situations that require a bodycam activation
When safe to do so, Minneapolis officers should activate their bodycams during the following situations. Activation shall occur as soon as possible, but before any citizen contact.
Suspicious Person stops.
Suspicious Vehicle stops.
Any vehicular response requiring emergency driving as defined by MPD P/P 7402, or emergency response as defined by MPD P/P 7403.
Work-related transports not involving a ridealong or another City employee in their official capacity as a City employee.
Any search, including but not limited to searches of vehicles, persons, and
Any contact involving criminal activity.
Any contact involving physical or verbal confrontations.
Any contact that is, or becomes adversarial.
When advising a person of their Miranda rights.
When ordered to by a supervisor.
Prior to any use of force. (If a bodycam is not activated prior to a use of force, it shall be activated as soon as it is safe to do so.)
Any tactical entry or forced entry into a building, unless a supervisor has determined in advance that the video or audio data could result in the disclosure of operational or tactical information that would compromise the effectiveness of future actions or jeopardize officer safety.
If a situation changes to require activation, the officer shall immediately activate the BWC as soon as it is safe to do so.
Approved deactivation scenarios
While protecting accident scenes.
Monitoring assigned traffic posts.
To protect the identity of an officer in an undercover capacity.
To protect the identity of a confidential reliable informant.
The incident or event is of such duration that it is necessary to deactivate the camera to conserve power or storage. If it is necessary to discuss issues surrounding the incident/investigation with a supervisor or another officer in private, officers may turn off their BWC. This includes discussions between Field Training Officers with officers in training that are specific to training issues.
If a request is made for a bodycam to be turned off by a party being contacted, the officer should take into account the overall circumstances and what is most beneficial to all involved, before deciding to honor the request. For example, an officer may choose to turn off the BWC if its operation is inhibiting a victim or witness from giving a statement. Factors to consider may include the type of call and the vulnerability of the victim, such as the victim of a sexual assault.
When ordered to by a supervisor. Both the officer and supervisor shall document the reason for the deactivation as described in the Report Writing section of this policy.