Over 80% of Minnesota police chiefs say they support the use of body-worn cameras by police officers, according to a recent survey conducted by the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association. Red Wing Police Department uses the technology. However, the Goodhue County Sheriff’s Office doesn’t due to financial challenges.
“More agencies, large and small, are deploying body-worn cameras, or considering their deployment, to gather crucial evidence and enhance transparency with their communities,” said MCPA Executive Director Jeff Potts in a news release.
Of the 214 police chiefs who responded to the survey, 100 said their departments are using the technology.
Gordon Rohr, newly appointed Red Wing police chief, said the department started employing Axon body cameras during the fall of 2020 after testing out three options. All sworn officers are equipped with cameras.
“The cameras show a view from the officer’s perspective at the time of an incident,” Rohr said. “The cameras can capture audio and video that might otherwise be lost during the course of an investigation ... serves as an independent witness during incidents which can be an invaluable tool to capture evidence used for investigations and court cases.”
The survey results did include 95 police chiefs stating they do not employ body-worn cameras and, for most, it’s because of a lack of resources.
Sheriff Marty Kelly said Goodhue County deputies don't use cameras due to not enough storage resources and financial challenges.
During the 2021 legislative season, a $1 million bill was proposed that would increase funding for local agencies to acquire body cameras; it didn’t pass for non-state agencies.
The Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association plans on continuing to look for solutions to help agencies of all sizes acquire body cameras.