Full implementation of police body camera program expected in 2016

The Minneapolis Police Department is aiming for March 2016 to roll out a new police body camera program.

MPD Deputy Chief Travis Glampe provided the City Council’s Public Safety & Regulatory Services Committee with an update on the body camera program Wednesday. Thirty-six police officers participated in a body camera pilot project that ended in mid-May.

Glampe said officers had positive experiences with the cameras and many requested to keep using them after the pilot project ended. Officers captured over 7,000 videos, he said.

Much of the footage was mundane showing routine traffic stops, but a few videos captured compelling events, including an officer saving someone’s life by administering CPR and another officer chasing down a suspect who was later convicted, Glampe said.

Police leaders are awaiting word about an application for a federal grant that will cover some of the costs of the body camera program. They are also waiting for feedback from the Minneapolis Police Conduct Oversight Commission, which has scheduled community listening sessions to hear residents’ thoughts on the cameras. The next listening session is scheduled for Saturday, July 25 at 10 a.m. at the Minneapolis Adult Education Center, 2225 E. Lake St., room 140.

The department is also planning to begin negotiations with the two vendors used during the pilot project to determine which cameras to purchase. The officers tested out body cameras from Taser International and VIEVU during the pilot period.

Glampe said the department is also working on guidelines to determine when the videos can and cannot be made public.

Police departments across the country have been implementing body camera programs to make police work more transparent and prevent false claims against officers.