Waite Park Officers Adjusting To New Body Cameras [VIDEO]
WAITE PARK -- It's been a learning curve inside the Waite Park police department, as officers are getting used to their new body cameras.
This summer the council approved body cameras for all 18 officers, and the cameras have been operational since September. Police Chief Dave Bentrud says they've been talking about getting body cameras for a while.
"We've had money in the budget for the last two years but didn't buy them because of the concern on how the data would be classified."
The cameras are worn at all times and the footage collected is stored in a cloud based server which provides easier access for officers, record staff and lawyers.
"Before body cameras we would write about things that would happen in our reports and now we have this video evidence."
Officer Tom Jensen says the cameras remains off until they are needed and there are several ways to activate the camera.
"When we turn our lights on to the second switch, take our riffles out of the car it will turn on and when we activate our tasers it will turn on any officers in a 30 foot radius of us."
But just because the department is using body cameras doesn't mean they capture everything crystal clear. Jensen says since the discussion of body cameras there has been a preconceived notion the cameras see all.
"Everybody wears the cameras at different heights, if we are close to the suspect the camera can't see everything going on around us. It's better used for filming at a distance."
Bentrud says while they haven't received many calls from surrounding agencies, he believes it's only a matter of time before other department follow suit.