Audit on Minneapolis Police Body Camera Program Released

September 19, 2017 06:57 PM

A Minneapolis city committee released the findings of its audit on the police department's body camera program Tuesday.

The audit included data from before and after the July policy change requiring officers to turn on their devices for every call their dispatched to. The change was made after Justine Damond was shot and killed by an officer, who didn't have his device turned on.

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The auditors detailed six sets of findings covering policy noncompliance, training and more.

RELATED: Minneapolis Chief: Body Camera Use Up After Policy Change

As far as usage goes, the audit found that cameras weren't being activated when they should be and not capturing the beginning of events. The data revealed that video didn't exist for 26 percent of the department's use of force instances before the July policy change. After the new policy, though, that number dropped to 7 percent.


Body Camera Policies

A link to the Minnesota statute on body cameras can be found here. The law does not dictate body cam policies for departments. Further, the League of Minnesota Cities compiled a list of FAQs when the state law was added to the books in 2016.

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The audit also found that multiple policies weren't addressed with officers in training. For example, auditors said officers weren't told to remove themselves from service if the camera loses battery power, Auditors also learned there wasn't a process for notifying supervisors of a recording believed to be valuable.

One auditor noted that one of the primary goals of the program, at its inception, was to enhance accountability.

RELATED: Minneapolis Police Body Cam Video Use Appears Low

"To us, it didn't appear like the spirit of this program lived after it's rollout," the auditor said.

On Monday, Chief Medaria Arradondo  said there is certainly room for improvement, but pointed to data indicating the department is well on its way. He said his new policy led to a 260 percent increase in video hours recorded.

"We still have a ways to go, so I don't want to celebrate or be victorious in terms at least in this small snapshot, but with any new policy change its going to take time," Arradondo said. "We're still hiring more folks, the messaging from our supervisors I think is very important and we'll continue to play a role in how we increase the usage."

Arradondo's Assistant Chief, Michael Kjos, was in the council chambers Tuesday when the findings were presented to the committee. He thanked the auditors afterward.

"We do take these findings very seriously." Kjos said. "We haven't had an opportunity to see them yet, so we're ready to dig into this and see where we go moving forward and what processes or policy changes need to be made."

 

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