Body Camera Information
Over the last several years the Becker Police Department has been a local leader in the testing and analyzing of the use of body cameras in police work.
Recently, the Becker City Council approved the police department to move forward with the process to acquire and implement the use of body cameras. The state legislature approved the use of body cameras with specific legislation in May 2016. Part of this law was to address the following questions with the use of body cameras: data retention and personal privacy issues, opportunity for public comment prior to implementation which includes publishing of the police policy related to the use of body cameras, and a biennial audit of the body camera program.
A 2016 Data Practices Statute outlines how body camera data is maintained and released. Below please see the overview of the state statute, but as a general rule body camera data will be released to the subject of the video, once any criminal proceedings are closed. As other agencies have done, the Becker Police Department policy is a recommended policy from the League of Minnesota Cities and the Becker City Attorney which have outlined best practices. As identified in this policy, all uniformed police officers will be equipped with body cameras during their assigned shift. The policy, in general, allows for officer discretion in what is captured, but does require officers to activate their body cameras when:
- Escalating levels of force and conflict are taking place,
- During use of force incidents,
- To capture what may become evidence,
- During traffic and pedestrian detentions,
- At any other point that the officers find its use beneficial.
A Public hearing on their use is scheduled during the regular BeckerCity Council meeting on September 19, 2017 at 6:00pm at Becker City Hall, 12060 Sherburne Ave, Becker, MN. There is also an open comment period for those with questions regarding their use by the Becker Police Department. Those with comments or questions are asked to email the Chief of Police, Brent J. Baloun, at firstname.lastname@example.org prior to the public hearing date. All comments and questions become public and subject to the provisions of the MN Data Practices Act and may be commented upon during the public hearing.
Body cameras are an excellent tool for law enforcement, however, the body camera has limitations and is not a one-stop, solve-all remedy for creating public trust. Public trust can only be achieved through building relationships. Human or technology error are possible; a camera pointed in the opposite direction of an important interaction can happen. And, occasionally, we will see an officer under duress forget to turn on a camera.
Below are some important documents to hopefully address any concerns or questions that the general public may have. Again, please contact Chief of Police, Brent J. Baloun, should you have any comments.