Minnesota State Patrol now using more than 700 body-worn cameras

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety said more than 700 members of the State Patrol are now wearing fully operational body-worn cameras.

Col. Matt Langer told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the State Patrol has used dash camera videos for more than 20 years and the body cameras will be a useful tool for both troopers and the general public.

“It creates a transparent record of what occurred,” Langer said. “So whether there’s a discrepancy between what the trooper said, or what the driver said, or a member of the public, we have the record of what happened and it’s for everyone to see.” 

Langer said the state Legislature budgeted $7 million for the purchase of body-worn cameras and data storage.

“So, we’ve had squad video systems in all of our trooper cars for about 20 years and that captured almost everything that we do roadside,” Langer said. “But, obviously, the body-worn cameras add to the squad video to make sure that we’re not going to miss anything.”

State Rep. Peggy Scott, R-Plymouth, is a member of the House Data Practices Committee. She told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS she is confident the State Patrol will follow state statute and protect the privacy of people who appear on body-worn camera videos while state troopers are doing their jobs.

And Scott said there are biannual audits of every law enforcement agency in the state that uses body-worn cameras.

“They are required to have a third party do an audit, they cannot self-audit,” Scott said. “So, they have to either have the State Auditor or private auditing firm will come in and audit their usage.”