Police Body Cams Controversy: Should Footage be Released to Public?

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Body cameras are becoming a custom part to a police officer’s uniform.

But police in Minnesota want to keep the footage private.

Police brutality has been a hot topic in the news recently and so has the use of body cameras.

Transparency advocates feel the public has a right to know what police are doing, but local police tell me making video public could compromise just that.

Imagine this, a police officer has to enter your home and everything is recorded, all for the public to see.

“We’ve had people that post on YouTube that say I want all of your footage, everything that you can’t classify as something you can specifically protect,” says Lt. Tory Jacobson of Moorhead PD.

Lieutenant Jacobson welcomes the legislation supported by Minnesota Police to keep police cam footage private.

He worries people could get hold of video for the wrong reasons.

“They could personally attack anyone if someone is going through a custody dispute or divorce,” says Jacobson.

“And Moorhead police worry that if all video is made public that might make witnesses reluctant to come forward and share vital information.”

“The public has a right to know,” says Karen Goheen of Carrington.

But after further consideration, Karen Goheen isn’t quite sure.

“I don’t know. That’s kind of a hard question because it’s privacy on both sides, but we want to try and protect everybody but still everybody gets to know what we’re doing,” says Goheen. 

If nothing else, Lt. Jacobson hopes the push for private video sparks this kind of conversation.

“It educates law makers and the public to the complexities and the challenges this new technology brings,” says Jacobson.

Challenges affecting a job being scrutinized now more than ever.

Jacobson says the Moorhead P-D can’t afford cameras at the moment, but he’s confident they will get some soon.