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Minnesota Police Chiefs Overwhelmingly Support the Use of Body-Worn Cameras

Deployment of Technology in Local Police departments Doubles in Last 5 Years

 


New Brighton, Minn., July 8, 2021 – The vast majority of Minnesota police chiefs (more than 80%) say they support the use of body-worn cameras by police officers, according to a new survey conducted by the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association (MCPA).

The survey, which was distributed via email to more than 300 Minnesota police chiefs over the last six weeks, also found that more than 100 municipal police departments in the state are now deploying the technology. The use of body-worn cameras has nearly doubled in Minnesota police departments since a similar survey was conducted by the association five years ago, said MCPA Executive Director Jeff Potts.

“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 Potts. “But with the benefits of body-worn cameras, comes significant financial challenges.”

Of the 214 police chiefs who responded to the survey, 95 said they do not have body-worn cameras, and more than 65% of those 95 say a lack of resources is the reason.

Beyond the infrastructure costs and data storage, the high price tag for comprehensive audits (required by statute) have prevented agencies and city councils from purchasing the technology, forced them to discontinue usage of the technology or made them think twice about the long-term return on the investment, the survey found.

These challenges are particularly great for the small agencies in our state, said Potts. The legislature considered a bill that included $1 million in funding annually for local agencies to acquire body-worn cameras this past session.

During a time of unprecedented calls for greater transparency in policing, Potts said the MCPA was extremely disappointed that the bill was not included in the final public safety bill while state funding was provided to equip state law enforcement agencies with the technology.

“We believe the more police officers with body-worn cameras equates to greater accountability for law enforcement; that’s what our communities desire and deserve.” Potts said. “We will continue to look for solutions to make acquiring the technology more affordable for agencies of all sizes and share best-practices with our members.”

For more information about the survey, please contact the MCPA at info@mnchiefs.org

About MCPA

The Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association (MCPA) is a non-profit professional member organization whose mission is to provide the highest quality of police services and leadership to the people of Minnesota. The vision is to be the recognized voice for professional law enforcement in Minnesota. The MCPA represents approximately 500 police chiefs and command staff at municipal and state law enforcement agencies across Minnesota. For more, visit http://www.mnchiefs.org.

 

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