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Minot Police Department begins use of body cameras on officers

Minot police officers have begun using body cameras as more departments are using the new technology across the country.

Fifty-three local officers are using the Axon Body 2 model, made by Arizona-based company Taser. Each officer received an iPod in conjunction with the camera, thus allowing officers to label the video in the field. Once the officer comes back to headquarters, they plug the device into a docking bay. After it’s plugged in, the data uploads to a cloud-based service provided by Taser. “The purpose of the cameras is to collect evidence,” said Capt. John Klug.

Since the system is cloud-based, the officer’s job is complete once he plugs it in. The police have budgeted for an evidence technician, who is in charge of the footage captured by the cameras.

“Her sole purpose is to store the data for the right amount of time,” said Klug. That amount of time depends on the type of interaction the footage is classified under. “Some are a matter of days, some a matter of weeks,” said Klug. “If the case is going to trial, the storage time can be extended.” The evidence technician’s job description is to re-classify the footage on a case-by-case basis.

Klug sees the cameras as a new tool for justice, not only for the officers but for civilians as well.

“If there is a complaint, we can view it,” he said. “It has a lot of purpose. Ultimately, it should protect everyone involved.”

While the videos are not going to be open to the public for viewing, one could have to go down to the station to make a special request to view the footage. “It is not being hidden, it’s just following the guidelines put in place,” said Klug. “There is a process to every piece of evidence.”

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