West Metro Police to Use Weapon-Mounted Cameras

August 16, 2018 05:55 PM

A west metro police department has a new tool to help them on the streets.

It's a camera mounted onto a handgun.


Video taken from a small 2-by-1 inch camera mounted on the end of a police officer's gun shows the officer moving through a dark room.

It shows where the gun is pointed, and very clear resolution shows even the dust particles in the room.

RELATED: St. Louis Park Officials to Discuss New Police Body Camera Policy Draft

The camera is automatic -- as soon as the gun is pulled out of its holster, the camera is rolling.

It was designed by Minnesota-based Viridian Weapon Technologies.

"It automatically turns on, there's no on/off switch to it at all," said Sgt. Rick Denneson.

And unlike body-worn cameras, officers say the view isn't obstructed by a police officer's hands or other obstacles.

RELATED: Compliance Audit Complete on St. Paul Police Body Cameras

"Where are the hands of an officer, they are up in front of the video camera a lot of times on a body-worn camera. A body-worn camera is not really following your eyes, where I think this camera does because typically where you are pointing your gun is where you are looking," said Denneson.

West Hennepin Public Safety consists of 10 officers, serving the Independence and Maple Plain communities.

While they've never had an officer-involved shooting, they see the encounters.

"It's around us, so we want to be prepared should it happen, we hope it never happens, but if it did, we'd be prepared to capture it," said West Hennepin Public Safety Director Gary Kroells.

At $500 each, it will cost $7,200 to outfit the department with cameras and holsters.

RELATED: Audit on Minneapolis Police Body Camera Program Released

The weapon-mounted cameras will capture any critical incident and supplement squad car dash cameras officers here have had for 18 years

But one of the biggest benefits is storage.

"Body-worn cameras, if you stop to help someone changing a tire, if you stop to help someone with directions, whatever it is, that is a file and it's collecting that," said Denneson.

DIGITAL EXTRA: Sample Footage of Weapon-Mounted Camera

"We're out here in the rural country, so using the cloud to store data simply doesn't work for us because we don't have the bandwidth," said Kroells. 

Kroells said his research around body-worn cameras reveals it would cost roughly $40,000 to outfit his department.


Jessica Miles

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