State Working Group Considers Mandatory Body Cameras for Law Enforcement

League staff testified that a body camera mandate would require state funding.
(Published Oct 28, 2019)

A state working group created in July may recommend making body cameras mandatory for all Minnesota law enforcement.

The State Working Group on Police-Involved Deadly Force Encounters, created and co-chaired by Attorney General Keith Ellison and Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington, held its third public hearing on Oct. 17 in Cloquet. The hearing was focused on policy and legal implications.

—Access recordings of the hearings

Mandate should include state funding

League staff member Irene Kao testified, along with Cook County Sheriff Pat Eliasen, on body cameras and data practices. To provide the same foundation for working group members from the community and government alike, Kao provided a general overview of law enforcement data and the body camera law enacted in 2016.

In response to working group members’ questions on mandating body cameras statewide, Kao said that funding would be needed for any such mandate. Kao also answered questions about what the law says regarding who gets access to body camera video, whether officers can review body camera video before writing their reports, and when law enforcement can and can’t share body camera video.

—View the League’s presentation slides (pdf)

Other presentations included the role of the Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training in training and licensing of peace officers, body cameras in Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigations, use-of-force policy and court decisions, and use of data to understand disparities in policing.

—Read a Duluth News Tribune article about this hearing

Charge for working group

This working group provides a framework for stakeholders statewide to have a voice in developing recommendations, which may address policy, procedure, legislation, programming, and training. A final report is expected in February and will include recommendations for preventing, investigating, and prosecuting police-involved deadly force encounters.

—See the members of the working group

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