The Maplewood Police Department has finalized its Body Worn Camera Policy. The department presented the final version of the policy to the Maplewood City Council on November 14, 2016. The policy became effective at 12:01 AM on November 15, 2016.
The City engaged in a comprehensive review and public input process for the development of this policy, which significantly exceeded the requirements as established by Minnesota law (See MN Statute 626.8473). The policy development process included input, discussion, or consultation with the following:
Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension staff
Ramsey County Attorney’s Office staff
Law Enforcement Labor Services staff
Maplewood City Council members
Maplewood City Attorney – civil, prosecution, and labor services
Maplewood’s “Use of Force” Workgroup
Maplewood Police Department personnel
Minnesota Coalition on Government
St. Paul Chapter of the NAACP
Minnesota Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union
Individual subject matter experts
Maplewood Community members
Police department administrators will continue to monitor developments around best practices for the use of body worn camera technology and will make policy adjustments as may be needed.
The use of body-worn cameras (BWCs) in law enforcement is relatively new. The primary purpose of using BWCs is to capture evidence arising from police-citizen encounters. While this technology allows for the collection of valuable information, it opens up many questions about how to balance public demands for accountability and transparency with the privacy concerns of those being recorded. In deciding what to record, this policy also reflects a balance between the desire to establish exacting and detailed requirements and the reality that officers must attend to their primary duties and the safety of all concerned, often in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving.
The statute requires public input in three different places in the process:
Agencies must provide an opportunity for public comment before purchasing or implementing a BWC program - minimally the agency must receive comments by mail, form and email, but a public forum can be held as well.
The Council with budget oversight must provide opportunity for public comment at one of its regular meetings, and
Maplewood City Council will review BWC policy draft during a workshop held at 6:00pm at Maplewood City Hall. In the hopes of transparency and meaningful discussion, Chief Schnell has invited three distinguished guests to address the Council on this topic. We hope to be joined by Matt Ehling from the Minnesota Coalition on Government Information, Yusef Mgeni from the St. Paul NAACP, and Ben Feist from the MN Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.
Immediately following the workshop, will be your opportunity to address the Council with your thoughts on Maplewood's implementation of a Body Worn Camera Program.
Please take the time to read the policy prior to the September 26th meeting and keep in mind that the document is