The primary purpose of using body-worn-cameras (BWCs) is to capture evidence arising from police-citizen encounters. This policy sets forth guidelines governing the use of BWCs and administering the data that results. Compliance with these guidelines is mandatory, but it is recognized that officers must also attend to other primary duties and the safety of all concerned, sometimes in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving.
In 2016, Fridley Police began researching a BWC program. Over two years, staff examined policies, practices and product options. A draft policy was written and presented to the Citizen Advisory Group, Cops and Clergy, Block Captains, police officers and sergeants collective bargaining units, Fridley/Columbia Heights Kiwanis Club, Fridley Public Schools, City Council and at individual neighborhood meetings.
Visual Labs was selected as the software company and utilizes Android-based smartphones as body-worn cameras. By utilizing a smartphone, an officer can use one device to complete multiple tasks. including HD video, digital images and digital statements. All data captures is automatically uploaded to a secure cloud-based server, which can be retrieved by authorized personnel from anywhere at any time.
Field-testing of the cameras began in May 2018 and full implementation of the BWCs took place in January 2019.