OLMSTED CO., Minn. – The Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office is adding a body camera policy and program.
A draft of the policy is available for public input and comment until Nov. 15. The Olmsted County Board will also accept comments at the regularly scheduled Board of Commissioners meeting on Dec. 13.
Below are some highlights from the policy:
General Guidelines for Recording:
Deputies shall activate their BWC when anticipating that they will be involved in, become involved in, or witness other deputies of this agency involved in a pursuit, Terry stop of a motorist or pedestrian, search, seizure, arrest, use of force, adversarial contact, and during other activities likely to yield information having evidentiary value. However, deputies need not activate their BWC when it would be unsafe, impossible, or impractical to do so. Such instances of not recording when otherwise required must be documented as specified in the section entitled, “Use and Documentation”. (MSS #626.8473 Sub. 3(b)(4)).
Deputies have no affirmative duty to inform people that a BWC is being operated or that the individuals are being recorded (MSS #626.8473 Sub. 3(b)(4)).
Nothing in this policy or guidelines prevents a deputy from informing an individual that the encounter is being recorded. Deputies may find it useful to inform an individual that the encounter is being recorded in order to have a civilizing effect during an incident.
Administering Access to BWC Data:
Data Subjects. Under Minnesota law, the following are considered data subjects for the purposes of administering access to BWC data:
Any person or entity whose image or voice is documented in the data (MSS #13.825 Sub. 4(a)).
The deputy who collected the data. (MSS #13.825 Sub. 4(a)).
Any other deputy or peace officer whose voice or image is documented in the data, regardless of whether that deputy or peace officer is or can be identified in the recording. (MSS #13.825 Sub. 4(a)).
BWC data that is collected or created as part of an active criminal investigation is confidential while the investigation remains active. (MSS #13.82 Sub. 7) This classification takes precedence over the “private” classification and the “public” data classification (MSS #13.82 Sub. (2)(a)(3)).
Access to BWC Data by Non-Employees:
Deputies shall refer members of the media or public seeking access to BWC data to the Records Division, who shall process the request in accordance with the MGDPA (Minnesota Government Data Practices Act) and other governing laws.
Data Retention (MSS #626.8473 Sub. 3(b)(1): All BWC data shall be retained for a minimum period of 90 days. (MSS #13.825 Sub. 3)
Other data having evidentiary value shall be retained for the period specified in the Records Retention Schedule or Records Division Policy.
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