Correctional officers at the Ramsey County jail started wearing body cameras Tuesday, recording interactions with inmates and members of the public.
Deputy sheriffs in court security also began wearing body cameras Tuesday. The Ramsey County Sheriff's Office is in the process of outfitting nearly all its correctional officers and sworn deputies with body cameras "to provide an objective view of interactions between law enforcement agencies and community."
Earlier this year, patrol deputies who provide police services for much of the northern suburbs donned the cameras.
"The Sheriff's Office is now keeping pace with best practices utilized by law enforcement agencies across the state and country," Sheriff Bob Fletcher said in a statement. Fletcher added that Ramsey County is a leader in the state as one of only a few counties to use body-worn cameras in its jail.
The Ramsey County Board approved nearly $1.4 million to fund the cameras, equipment, storage and personnel. Two public hearings were held on the subject, including one Tuesday where no member of the public spoke.
Last spring, county officials and the sheriff agreed to accelerate the launch of body cameras after the release of a 2016 video showing a Ramsey County corrections officer punching and kneeing a handcuffed suspect while others watched.
The officer since has pleaded guilty and resigned. The county paid the suspect $525,000 to settle a pending lawsuit.
The 26-page body-worn camera policy, which includes privacy protections for sexual assault victims, is posted on the Sheriff's Office website at ramseycounty.us.