Minn. cities apply to make police body camera videos private
ST. PAUL -- Cities big and small from across Minnesota want a state commissioner to order most video produced by police body cameras to be private. "This will help guide and direct us as we plan for and implement this project in policy making, tr...
ST. PAUL -- Cities big and small from across Minnesota want a state commissioner to order most video produced by police body cameras to be private.
"This will help guide and direct us as we plan for and implement this project in policy making, training and cost considerations," Brainerd Police Chief Corky McQuiston said in a letter requesting Administration Commissioner Matt Massman to make the data private.
Brainerd was one of 15 cities to apply for the ruling, with nine others offering their support.
This year's Legislature could not agree on whether video produced by police-worn cameras should be private or public. Police generally want it private, but they face others who say the cameras are meant to allow the public to track police activity to hold them accountable.
Maplewood Police Chief Paul Schnell, who organized the application, told Massman in a letter that without considering privacy, "this technology has the potential to undermine the very nature of the relationships law enforcement as a profession is working to develop with the communities they serve."
Schnell and other chiefs are asking Massman to make a temporary decision to limit public access to the video, with the assumption that the Legislature will make a permanent decision.
Under state law, Massman has 45 days to decide, but that can double if the commissioner determines the request applies to other governmental entities. Also, if the commissioner decides the data will be private, the attorney general would review the issue and could overturn his decision.
Cities that filed the application may consider the data private immediately, but it would revert to public if the commissioner rules against their application.
Cities that are part of the application to declare most police body cam videos private are Aitkin, Baxter, Big Lake, Brainerd, Brooklyn Park, Burnsville, Farmington, Grand Rapids, Jordan, Montevideo, Onamia, Richfield, Rochester, St. Anthony and Starbuck.
Cities that offered support for the application are Bloomington, Duluth, Eden Prairie, Madelia, Maple Grove, Mounds View, Oak Park Heights, Plymouth and Worthington.