RED WING -- City Council unanimously voted to approve Police Chief Roger Pohlman’s request that city police officers begin wearing body cameras.
The process of implementing these cameras began in 2017 when, based on a community survey, $45,000 was designated for cameras.
In his report Monday night to City Council, Pohlman laid out the possible negative and positive impacts of implementing this policy. The report explains:
“This program is not expected to have a negative effect on our community as privacy protection under Minnesota Government Data Practices … requirements provide for handling video.”
After using the $45,000 set aside for the cameras, it is predicted that the most expensive aspects of this policy will be the computer server to store video data ($15,000 every five years) and a biennial audit ($5,000 to $7,000).
Pohlman’s report also laid out when officers will use the body worn cameras:
“When responding to all calls for service and during all law enforcement-related encounters and activities. … However, officers need not activate their cameras when it would be unsafe, impossible or impractical to do so.”
Officers can decide whether to record general contact with citizens.
Pohlman also has the ability to instruct the use of capturing video in individual cases, for example, community rallies and demonstrations.
This policy, Pohlman told the council, would be used in situations where he and the police department had obtained intelligence that an individual or group planned to disrupt an event.
“It’s not to circumvent the policy by no means, and it’s also, our desire is not to capture any citizens exercising their constitutional rights. Our desire is to capture the individuals trying to violate our citizens trying to execute their constitutional rights," he said.
Council member Evan Brown voiced his support for implementing the body cameras.
"Anything, I believe, that helps accountability across the spectrum is a good thing," he said.
The implementation of the body-worn camera policy is estimated to begin on April 15.