- Associated Press - Sunday, February 1, 2015

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - St. Paul officials are considering whether to join the growing list of cities whose police officers wear body cameras.

The City Council is scheduled to vote Wednesday on a resolution asking the police department to include a camera pilot project in its budget request for next year.

Council member Chris Tolbert contends the cameras increase police accountability while also clearing officers of unfounded complaints, Minnesota Public Radio News (https://bit.ly/1D2LM5D ) reports.

“It also helps prosecute crimes, and also lets the public … or the prosecutor or any investigator really see what happened to that police officer and what the police officer sees in real time,” Tolbert said.

Police departments around the country are turning to body cameras following last year’s riots in Ferguson, Missouri, after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black 18-year-old. Minneapolis has outfitted 36 officers with cameras as part of its own pilot project.

Council member Dan Bostrom, a former St. Paul police officer, said most officers have no problem wearing cameras, but he wants to make sure the videos aren’t released publicly.

“You’re never going to … come across a homicide scene that’s the bloodiest, goriest thing you ever saw in your life, or beaten children, and those other kinds of things,” Bostrom said. “Those officers walk into those kinds of situations regularly.”

A bill introduced at the Minnesota Legislature last week would classify body camera video as private. Open government advocates counter that keeping the videos secret defeats the purpose of holding officers accountable.


Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, https://www.mprnews.org

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