Yes. When an officer activates their camera, it will capture at least 30 seconds of video prior to the activation.
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Body-worn cameras were deployed in December 2020 and are now in use.
The Edina Police Department has used in-squad, or “dash cam” footage for many years. The footage has proved to be an excellent tool for collecting evidence, documenting encounters and providing enhanced transparency and accountability. Body-worn cameras will dramatically expand this capability.
All uniformed officers will wear a body camera.
During some encounters, officers will use their discretion when deciding whether or not to record. Officers are required to continue recording once started until the conclusion of the incident, or until it becomes apparent that additional recording is unlikely to capture information having evidentiary value. Officers will document in their reports when a video is recorded, any instances when video was not recorded when it should have been and any time a recording is stopped prior to the end of an incident.
Officers are required to record when they are involved in:
Recording is not required during medical situations unless there is a reason to use the camera to collect evidence.
Body-worn cameras can be used to record any police encounter. This includes inside private homes and other sensitive areas where officers must respond. Recording is not required during medical situations unless there is a reason to use the camera to collect evidence. It should be noted that most body-worn camera data is considered private under Minnesota law and thus not accessible to third parties who are not directly involved in the situation.
Officers don’t have to tell people that a body-worn camera is being operated or that the individuals are being recorded. Officers will wear the body cameras on the front of their uniform in plain sight. People should assume police officers with body-worn cameras are recording. It’s okay to ask the officer if the camera is on or to ask the officer to turn on the camera.
Officers are required to continue recording once started until the conclusion of the incident, or until it becomes apparent that additional recording is unlikely to capture information having evidentiary value. In many cases, officers will not be able to end a recording solely based on an individual’s request. If a specific privacy concern outweighs any legitimate law enforcement interest in continued recording, an officer may consider a request to stop recording.
Body-worn cameras will be recording whenever officers are involved in:
School Resource Officers who work in plain clothes and not in uniform will generally not wear cameras but have the discretion to do so pursuant to needs of a specific investigation or task. Any officers in uniform responding to or working within the schools will utilize their cameras in the same manner they would in any other location.
When responding to an apparent mental health event or crisis, body-worn cameras will be activated as necessary to document any use of force and any other information having evidentiary value. Body-worn cameras don’t need to be activated when doing so would serve only to record symptoms or behaviors believed to be attributable to the mental health issue. Officers will generally not record inside medical or mental health facilities unless necessary to document criminal activity, use of force or an adversarial encounter.
In a few limited circumstances, data that is no longer part of an active investigation may be classified as public. This includes data documenting the use of force by a peace officer that results in substantial bodily harm, discharge of a firearm by a peace officer other than for training or animal control, data that a data subject requests be made accessible to the public (subject to redaction), and data documenting final disposition of a disciplinary action against a public employee.
Data practices laws are complex and requests are handled on a case-by-case basis to assure compliance with the law and to protect the subjects of the data. Those seeking access to body-worn camera recordings may contact the police department to request data.
Officers can review their own video and supervisors can review all officer videos. State law requires an independent audit of the Police Department’s body-worn camera program every two years. The audit’s purpose is to ensure officers comply with the recording policy along with ensuring data is stored and released to the public properly.
A body-worn camera is an electronic device worn on an officer’s uniform that must be small, rugged and have a battery capable of lasting an entire 12-hour shift. Viewers of body camera footage might expect to see “Made for TV” quality video with good lighting, multiple angles and ideal perspective. In reality, body-camera video is shot from a fixed angle on the front of an officer’s uniform and often in far from ideal conditions. No camera is capable of seeing the same way the person wearing it does. While body-camera video may provide useful additional information and evidence, it can only tell a part of a story. Body-camera footage can supplement but never replace a thorough investigation.