RED WING, Minn. -- Before presenting a request for body cameras to City Council, the Red Wing Police Department wants to hear from the public.

Police Chief Roger Pohlman will lead an informational meeting about body cameras and seek feedback 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, in the Red Wing Public Library.

The body camera policy will be submitted to Red Wing City Council on Dec. 9, with a final public comment time coming before that meeting.

Red Wing Police Chief Roger Pohlman
Red Wing Police Chief Roger Pohlman

Pohlman said the department wanted to have this feedback time to be as "transparent as possible," hoping to answer questions and address concerns around officers' use of body cameras.

Pohlman said body cameras are becoming more common, but aren't required equipment for police departments. However, the chief expects that to change.

He hopes to spend $45,000 for 30 body-worn cameras plus a 20 terabyte server to store data.

So when would officers turn the cameras on? Any call to service, Pohlman said.

Running body cameras, which will also be connected to the officers' dash cam in their vehicle, will help reduce any sort of conjecture and focus on the real time moments of any call to service no matter the severity, he explained.

"Nowadays the lack of trust of police officers in society kind of makes the officer feel more comfortable with the interactions" if they have cameras, Pohlman said. "If it’s a false statement, it’s all recorded, so they have the backup."

In speaking with police departments that have body cameras, Pohlman said it's been mostly positive.

The storage system will be key for the department but also the court system. Having access to body cameras can help move court cases along more quickly. Pohlman said the department proposes to store videos, depending on the case, for a minimum of 90 days.

For homicide cases, Pohlman said they keep physical evidence for 50 years. They would continue that for body camera footage in those specific cases as well.

Everyone is welcome to give input. Whether you can attend the library meeting or public comment time before the City Council meeting or not, Pohlman said he wants to hear from you.

If you are unable to attend the meeting, email the chief at roger.pohlman@ci.red-wing.mn.us or mail comments to Police Department, 430 W. Sixth St., Red Wing, MN 55066 prior to Dec. 9.

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