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Minneapolis PD looking into body cameras for street patrol officers

Councilwoman Betsy Hodges says this Taser Axon Flex body worn camera could soon be worn by Minneapolis police officers
Councilwoman Betsy Hodges says this Taser Axon Flex body worn camera could soon be worn by Minneapolis police officers

Politicians will speak to the press this afternoon about a possible plan to equip police officers with body cameras as early as 2014.

SEE ALSO: Minneapolis paid out $868k in police settlements for 2012

KSTP broke the story last night, citing unnamed sources who claim that "the plan is to have 500 officers wearing the body cameras next year but to start with a test group of 25 officers immediately." It'll reportedly cost $312,000.

Minneapolis police spokeswoman Cyndi Barrington countered by telling FOX 9 that, actually, the department has no immediate plans in place. She said the department's research is in the "infancy stages."

Either way, Minneapolis isn't the first city to consider this. Burnsville, in fact, has already started putting cameras on some officers working the streets.

The idea is being sold as a win-win for everybody -- as a way to protect officers and help get to the bottom of police misconduct complaints. The city has paid out $14 million over the last six years in lawsuits.

There's also a little matter of privacy and use. The ACLU of Minnesota says it's supportive of the cameras so long as the process put on place is transparent, and police and the community are willing to work together to build trust.

"The idea that you can turn this on and turn this off is a nonstarter for us," said Chuck Samuelson, the executive director of the state. "Frankly we've had problems in greater Minnesota with just that sort of thing happening with the squad-car cameras. We think this is not a bad idea, but we don't want to be seeing it abused."

-- Email Jesse Marx at jmarx@citypages.com or follow him on Twitter @marxjesse


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