Body-worn cameras

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In April 2019, St. Louis Park police officers began using body-worn cameras to capture evidence from police-citizen contacts, to ensure accurate reports, to allow for transparency and accountability in policing, and to protect the civil rights of the community.

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The police department will be following the general records retention schedule established the Minnesota Clerks and Finance Officers Association (MCFOA).

Background

With the assistance of the police advisory and human rights commissions, and the multicultural advisory committee, work on a policy for the use of body-worn cameras began in early 2018. A draft policy was presented to the city council at a study session Aug. 13, 2018, followed by a public hearing at the August 20 regular city council meeting, further discussion at an August 27 city council study session, then adoption in September 2018.

Body-worn camera/dashboard camera video request

To request a video from a police body-worn camera or vehicle dashboard camera, complete the video request form.

Return completed forms by:

  • Email: Christine Tuuri at ctuuri@stlouispark.org
  • Fax: 952.924.2676
  • Mail:
    St. Louis Park Police Department
    Attn: Christine Tuuri
    3015 Raleigh Ave. S.
    St. Louis Park, MN 55416

Frequently asked questions

  • Can officers decide when to stop or start recording?

    Recording is required to continue once started “until the conclusion of the incident or encounter,” or when determined necessary by a supervisor. For example, recording might stop when no evidence is likely to continue to be collected. Officers must document in reports when and why their camera was turned off .

    See “How often will officers will be recording?”

  • Can officers record in a home or other private areas?

    Body-worn cameras can be used to record any police-citizen encounter. This includes inside private homes and other sensitive areas where officers are on official business and legally allowed. Recording is not required during medical situations unless there is a reason to use the camera to collect evidence, statements and interviews.
  • Do people have to be notified when the body-worn camera is recording?

    Officers don’t have to tell people that a body-worn camera is being operated or that the individuals are being recorded. Officers wear the camera in a conspicuous location and manner. People should assume the camera is recording. It’s also okay to ask the officer if the camera is on or to ask the officer to turn on the camera.
  • How often will o ffi cers be recording?

    Body-worn cameras will be recording whenever officers are involved in, become involved in, or witness other officers of the department involved in:

    • A pursuit
    • Limited searches for weapons during lawful investigatory stops
    • Traffic stop of a motorist
    • Investigative stop of a pedestrian
    • Searches, seizures and arrests
    • Response to resistance incidents
    • Any encounter that becomes in any way hostile or confrontational (adversarial contact)
    • During other activities likely to yield information having evidentiary value
  • How will body-worn cameras be used in schools?

    Officers on duty in the schools who are wearing a full police duty uniform will use body-worn cameras. Cameras will be activated during incidents where it is likely that a law enforcement action will occur, where an arrest will be made or where questioning or investigation may be used as evidence in court.
  • What are the guidelines for officers responding to adults, minors or vulnerable populations?

    When responding to an apparent mental health crisis or event, body-worn cameras will be activated as necessary to document any response to resistance and the basis for it, and any other informaion 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.
  • When and how will a body-worn camera video be made public?

    • Those seeking access to body-worn camera data should contact the police department to request to view data.
    • If a police investigation is not active, individuals can review recorded body-worn camera data only if they are in the recorded video. Other data subjects in the video will be blurred out (redacted). Redaction will not affect or compromise the original video. This practice is consistent with the policy currently in place for the release of police reports.
    • Redacted copies of releasable videos can be requested only by individuals who are in the recorded video.
    • In situations where the interests of public safety are served by an early release of a video, the police chief and city manager may authorize its release.
  • Where and how long will body-worn camera videos be stored?

    Videos are downloaded and stored in a cloud-based storage vault provided by the camera’s manufacturer. All recordings must be saved a minimum of 90 days. The police department follows the Minnesota Data Practice law that guides the duration of storage for all incident types. Some storage requirements are longer than 90 days.

    Visit the Minnesota Office of the Revisor of Statues website for more information.

  • Who reviews the body-worn camera videos?

    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. If an audit shows the police department is out of compliance with state law, independent audits can be ordered more frequently; continued non-compliance can result in suspension of the body-worn camera program.
  • Why use body-worn cameras?

    The primary purpose of the St. Louis Park Police Department’s body-worn camera program is to:

    • Capture evidence from police-citizen contacts.
    • Help ensure accurate reports.
    • Allow for transparency and accountability in policing and protect the civil rights of the community.