City Council Approves Body Worn Camera Policy for North St. Paul Police
The City Council voted unanimously at their January 19 meeting to approve the policy for body worn cameras for our Police Department. The policy adopted is based on policy guidelines from the League of Minnesota Cities and is in use by several communities in the State of Minnesota. This decision by the Council now makes it possible for the City to begin the process of procuring the equipment.
Council members discussed several points of the policy including when the cameras would be activated and how the recordings would be used. Council members were in agreement that the policy may need some amendments once the camera selection is complete and the equipment features are clarified.
Body worn cameras are a tool our police officers want, said Police Chief Tom Lauth.
Council member Scott Thorsen stressed the importance of educating the public on how the cameras will be used and how their use may impact outreach to the community. City Manager Scott Duddeck ensured the Council that they will continue to be informed as the equipment is purchased, and training begins.
The Council voted unanimously to approve the purchase of body worn cameras for the North St. Paul Police force. Staff presented the Council with their recommendations on the equipment. After careful review, the City selected the Panasonic Arbitrator Camera equipment for several reasons including its data storage capabilities and compatibility with the City's current in car system. The camera equipment, which is available on the State of Minnesota contract, offers a magnetic clip for secure positioning on all police uniforms and gear, as well as improved sound and image clarity. The Council approved the $56,606 purchase which will provide equipment for all of our Sworn Officers and CSO's.
Based on Council approval, City staff will issue a purchase order for the equipment without delay. Staff will keep the Council updated on equipment arrival and training. Mayor Terry Furlong expressed interest in having an equipment demonstration at at future Council meeting.