Body cameras rolling out across Minnesota
MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - The red and blue lights are not something you want to see in your rearview mirror, but now there is an added level of security and safety for both the officers and you.
Body cameras have been officially rolled out across the state for the Minnesota State Patrol. A total of 705 body cameras and 644 car camera systems were installed statewide earlier this month.
“It is really important because the more evidence we can gather, the more it assures that we are able to give an accurate description of what we see where, what we witness when we are at a crash scene and when we are investigating a traffic violation,” Minnesota State Patrol Sgt. Troy Christianson said.
Cameras have been involved with the police and highway patrol for more than 20 years with dashboard cameras installed in patrol cars, but newer technology provides a closer look.
The State Patrol’s new body cameras are activated in a number of different ways. If the officer’s firearm is taken out of the holster, it can be manually turned on by a switch, or if the taser is activated. In addition, when the patrol vehicle’s lights come on, so does the camera.
The footage recorded by the body cameras is then sent directly to the cloud, meaning there is no need to physically store thousands of hours of footage, which had been a concern in the past.
The body cameras help provide a visual for a wide variety of situations. It does, however, come with possible issues in regard to privacy.
“If I am somewhere in public or at a private party somewhere and an officer comes in, and they have that body camera, it is an unintended consequence of what that might pick up or what that might not pick up,” Blue Earth County Attorney Pat McDermott said.
Mankato will be addressing the topic of body cameras for public safety in an upcoming city council meeting. For now, the plans are to see the body cameras on the officers in July.
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