Council committee approves spending $400,000 on police body camera program

A City Council committee has approved spending $400,000 on a new program to outfit Minneapolis police officers with body cameras.

The committee approved the funding for the body cameras as part of the 2014 city budget markup process. If approved by the full Council, the money would come from the Minneapolis Police Department’s self insurance fund.

Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau has a working group studying the feasibility of placing body cameras on officers.

In mid-October, Mayor-elect Betsy Hodges, chair of the Council’s Ways & Means/Budget Committee, and Council Members Gary Schiff and Cam Gordon held a press conference to promote the benefits of body cameras for officers. They have argued that they would be a great tool to deter police misconduct as other cities have seen drops in complaints against officers after they were outfitted with cameras.

At today’s committee meeting Schiff said the body camera program would likely cost around $650,00. “This would allow us to roll it out slowly,” he said, noting that other funding sources would have to been found to fully implement the program. 

The cameras promoted by Hodges, Schiff and Gordon during the October press briefing are made by Taser International. The cameras can be worn as sunglasses, a headband or glasses. 

The full City Council is scheduled to vote on the proposed 2014 budget on Dec. 11.