Moorhead Police introduce body cameras

After years of planning, Moorhead police officers began to wear body cameras this week.

MOORHEAD, Minn. (KVRR) — Police Chief Shannon Monroe says up until a few years ago, the legislation on how to handle data was an issue.

The body cameras turn on automatically if an officer unholsters their gun or taser.

“There’s also a censor on the officer’s holster. If a firearm is removed from the holster, the officer doesn’t have to then also turn on the camera. The removal of the firearm from the holster will activate any camera within 30 feet. Hopefully, with any kind of high-profile, use of force incident, we’re gonna hopefully be able to capture almost all of that with body cam footage,” Monroe says.

It’s been part of the department’s Capital Improvement Plan in 2019 to have them ready within five years.

Since 2020, the process has sped up because of deaths, protests and shootings involving police.

“I would hope, from what I hear from other agencies that have had it is when people know you are wearing a camera, it also helps them to make sure they control their behavior a little better because they know it’s all going to be captured. I hope the transparency leads to more positive outcomes that we have when we’re having contact with citizens,” says Monroe.

Monroe says there’s also a way to redact video.

He says there’s unlimited storage and the battery can last more than 24 hours.

The cameras are made by Axon, which also makes Taser and data will automatically be sent to a cloud service.

“When they’re done with it, they have an app on their department-issued smartphone where they categorize what type of contact it was. We always are categorizing our videos because that will be based on our retention schedule, how long we’ll keep that data based on state statute. Another piece Axon had that was really nice was their software for operating controlling the database of video. We can transfer it to our prosecuting attorney’s office very easily,” Monroe said.

The department has a five year contract with Axon, costing about $500,000.

Categories: Crime, Minnesota News, Moorhead