The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) today announced the 134 city and county law enforcement agencies that will receive in-car cameras as a result of $2.9 million in federal funds administered by the DPS Office of Traffic Safety. Wayzata will receive 2 installations of in-car cameras, according to the DPS website.
In all, 620 in-car cameras will be distributed to agencies that applied for the technology tool. Of the awarded agencies, 42 percent had no previous in-car cameras among their fleet. All of the agencies have begun or completed installation. The Minnesota Sheriff’s Association is coordinating distribution of the cameras.
“The intent of the in-car cameras is to strengthen relationships between law enforcement and communities by initiating productive discussions and improving the trust of law enforcement within the community.” says Michael Campion, DPS commissioner. “The cameras are a vital tool for law enforcement, and every officer should have this technology in their vehicle.”
Campion says the goal of the cameras is to provide a way to improve officer safety and enhance the public trust by preserving objective, factual representations of officer-citizen interactions. He adds cameras also provide non-disputable evidentiary information.
The digital cameras streamline content output through a wireless download to a server or laptop in the vehicle, or to a flashcard or via DVD. An in-squad camera costs an average of $4,775.90.
DPS cites in-car cameras are important to:
• Record an unbiased and accurate version of traffic enforcement action/public contact.
• Promote positive officer behavior and compliance with departmental policies and procedures.
• Assist in the apprehension of suspects when an officer is injured.
• Assist in the investigation of alleged conduct violations/personnel complaints.
• Promote positive citizen response during contact with law enforcement officers.
• Aid the agency in evaluating performance and effectiveness of enforcement policies and procedures.
The cameras are intended for vehicles used by officers or deputies whose primary responsibility is patrolling public roads and interacting with the public; special unit vehicles such as canine or traffic units; and vehicles used by supervisors responsible for supervising the officers mentioned above.