A Minneapolis City Council committee on Thursday signed off on how the Minneapolis Police Department would track the use of body cameras in its quarterly audits.
The unanimous approval by the Council's Public Safety and Emergency Management Committee came six months after then-interim Chief Medaria Arradondo ordered officers to use the devices in nearly all public encounters. That policy change followed the July 15 fatal shooting of Justine Ruszczyk Damond; officers Mohamed Noor and Matthew Harrity did not have their cameras on when they encountered Damond in a southwest Minneapolis alley.
A review by the city's Internal Audit Department in September found officers frequently weren't turning their body cameras on when responding to incidents, leading the department to launch its own audit lasting 4 ½ months.
Deputy Chief of Professional Standards Henry Halvorson told the committee the quarterly audits will help refine the department's revised policy, which is nearing its final draft.
The police department intends to track when officers start up, activate, use and deactivate their body-worn cameras. Council Member Linea Palmisano asked how often cameras are not on when they should be. She said she hopes information gleaned from the audits, such as when and how long the cameras are on, gets to the bottom of how officers use their body cameras.
Council Member Jeremiah Ellison echoed fellow council members' praise of the auditing process' progress, but also encouraged the committee, the department and other city officials to remain accountable.
"The bar may be set low. We [council members] are public servants, officers are public servants and we should continue to raise the bar of transparency," he said.
Trevor Squire is a University of Minnesota student on assignment for the Star Tribune.