Duluth police to see body cameras

By KBJR News 1

October 23, 2013 Updated Oct 23, 2013 at 9:19 AM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- In a matter of months the dash cam in police vehicles will not be the only recording devices for some Northland police officers.

The Duluth Police Department is currently in the process of implementing body cameras as part of their uniforms.

"Body cameras are just another example in a trend of increasing technology to help us to articulate and document our contacts with the public and our activities," said Robin Roeser, the Duluth PD Deputy Chief.

Police officers in Duluth say the integration of dashboard cameras in squad cars in 2008 has helped them to accurately prosecute a number of cases, in ways that wouldn't have been possible without the recorded footage.

They say that they expect to see the same result with the use of body cams.

"It'll allow for things to get resolved much quicker," said Roeser.

Lieutenant Jeff Kazel of the Duluth Police Department says that there are many benefits that come from recording police interactions.

"We've had a lot of things happen where we've been able to disprove, you know, false allegations towards officers, so it's a protection to them," said Lieut. Kazel.

Not only will the body cam provide protection for officers, but also for the community.

"It's going to be a tool that we have to help hold our staff accountable for the type of behavior that we expect," said Roeser.

The Duluth Police Department has been testing different cameras and systems, from various vendors, with the hopes of making a decision on which model they will soon use.

"Our goal is to have all of our uniformed patrol officers that are responding to 911 calls be equipped with body cameras," said Roeser.

Liuet. Kazal says that the 2014 Duluth PD budget is in place with plans to fully implement the body cams into daily interactions next year.

Officers from the Duluth Police Department say that they will not be able to delete or edit the recorded footage, and that those files will automatically be sent to and stored on a cloud server.

Elsa Robins