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Good Question: What Are The Policies On Body Cameras In Minneapolis?

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension confirmed Monday the two Minneapolis officers involved Saturday night's shooting were wearing body cameras, but that those cameras weren't turned on. That had several people, including Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, wondering why.

"I have a lot of questions why the body cameras weren't on," Hodges said Sunday.

So, what is Minneapolis' body camera policy? Good Question.

According to the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association, about ten-percent of Minnesota's law enforcement agencies wear body cameras. Minneapolis introduced its cameras last summer.

On Sunday, Minneapolis Assistant Chief Medaria Arradondo confirmed every officer on Minneapolis patrol wears a body camera. According to the official policy, officers must wear their cameras when they are on-duty and "could reasonably anticipate that they may become involved in a situation for which activation is appropriate."

Minneapolis officers must also be trained on the cameras before using them.

State law passed in 2016 spells out the privacy rules when it comes to video that's been recorded on body camera, but each department decides its own policy on what should be recorded.

Minneapolis' policy is laid out over two pages and can be read here. In it, it says officers should turn on a camera when it's safe to do under the following situations: traffic stops, suspicious person or vehicle stops, vehicle pursuits, when transporting someone, any searches, contact with criminal activity, a confrontation or anything that becomes adversarial, when reading someone their Miranda rights, when ordered by a supervisor, before using force and forced entry into a building.

It goes on to say an officer can turn the camera on if they're talking to a citizen and the officer thinks it's appropriate or when they're taking a statement and want to preserve the information.

The policy says the camera can be turned off when protecting accident scenes, monitoring traffic, helping drivers, protecting an undercover officer or informant, to save battery during a long incident, to talk to another officer in private, when ordered by a supervisor or sometimes when a victim or witness requests it.

If the camera is off when it's not supposed to be, the Minneapolis policy says the officer has to file a report. It also says any officer who doesn't adhere to this policy are subject to discipline, up to and including termination.

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