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Another set of eyes on the beat

Post Date:06/08/2018 10:00 am

Read the story in the Summer 2018 Hometown Messenger

Nestled among the many gadgets on Officer Jeff Wyckoff's uniform is a new device intended to give police added accountability and security while out on the beat.

In April, the Shakopee Police Department rolled out its body worn camera program. So far, the reviews have been favorable.

"The camera protects the officer and the public by showing what transpires in our interactions," Wyckoff said. "Overall, I think they have been a positive addition and will be invaluable for our department."

Officer wears a body worn camera on his chestIn 2016, the city received a $60,000 matching grant from the Department of Justice to develop a body worn camera policy and purchase the necessary equipment. After researching other departments' policies, gathering community input and testing various devices, the department opted in March for a system that integrates with its squad's in-car video system.

"We tested this equipment for nearly a year before we decided to fully implement it department wide," said Capt. Chris Dellwo. "For the most part, the transition has been quite smooth.  Officers have embraced the technology and the success rate at which we are seeing it being used indicates it is very user friendly."

While body worn cameras have become an expectation of the public, Dellwo and Wyckoff say the cameras are not the be-all, end-all solution for policing. The cameras can't see everything and sometimes will capture what an officer does not see. 

Yet, the officers are optimistic the cameras will enhance the department's evidence collection, translating into more successful prosecutions.

"Not only does it lend itself to transparency of police operations, but research has shown that people's behavior is positively modified when they know they are being recorded," Dellwo said. "Video is also a tremendous tool in resolving complaints and concerns of officers’ actions."

For more information about the department's body worn camera program, contact us at 952-233-9400 or police@ShakopeeMN.gov.

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