WAITE PARK -- The Waite Park police department will become the first department in the St. Cloud metro to use body cameras.

During Monday's city council meeting, the council approved the decision to allow officers to wear the cameras while on duty.

Police chief Dave Bentrud says they have an operating policy in place but before the cameras go live, some adjustments may need to be made.

"We need to understand the system we're purchasing and how the data is labeled. Our policy is pretty much set but we may tweak it once we have the cameras in house."

Bentrud says the body cameras will also help them document evidence better to help in their case building.

"If we have to take action to arrest someone, let's say for disorderly conduct, that behavior is going to be visible on film which enhances our ability to prosecute cases."

Body cameras have been a controversial topic over the past year regarding privacy issues. Bentrud says pending certain situations the data captured is private.

"By in large, the classification of the data is private. Unless you're the person video taped, or it's part of a trial, you're not going to be able to see the video.

The cameras would cost the department about $27,000 for 18 cameras with an annual cost of $18,000 to allow for data storage, replacement cameras every 30 months and software.

The department hopes to begin using the cameras by September.