Readers’ Response: Readers Welcome Police Force Cameras | Local News



The free press

All but a few respondents in the area support the city of Mankato’s efforts to purchase body cameras for local police officers, according to an online question from the Free Press.

Out of a total of 289 respondents, 272 voters – over 94% – agree with plans by the Mankato Public Security Ministry to purchase body cameras as early as next year. Only 17 voters disagreed.

Public Security Director Amy Vokal told Mankato City Council last week that the department plans to add cameras to its proposed budget for council approval in December. The cost is expected to total $ 150,000 to $ 200,000 per year, mainly for data storage of the huge amounts of video that the cameras will produce.

The expense was the main reason the city delayed adding the cameras after first discussing the possibility as early as 2014. The cameras are used extensively by law enforcement in the Twin Cities metropolitan area, but are less common in the state of Minnesota. Vokal has publicly stated that police officers in Mankato also support the purchase and use of body cameras.

Vokal said last week that the first step in the process of equipping Mankato’s officers – assuming the council is in favor of exploring the idea – will be talks with neighboring law enforcement, followed by public comments and the drafting of specific policies governing the use of cameras. .

Under state law, public comments must be obtained before purchasing equipment, including at a public hearing before city council, and again when a proposed policy governing the equipment. The use of cameras is written by Vokal.

The Free Press online question, sent on Friday, asked, “Are you supporting the town of Mankato to add body cameras for its police officers?”

There were two options to answer, “yes” or “no”.

Commentators unanimously agreed that body cameras would be a boon to officers regardless of their thoughts on policing or civil unrest caused by the recent police killings of black men.

“Many professions are becoming transparent,” Patricia Kephart wrote. “Mankato Police need to keep up to date with today’s world.”

Barbara Keating wrote: “Body cameras will help protect our officers from exaggerated, distorted and false complaints. “

Dave Johnson wrote: “Law enforcement has my confidence. The cameras would reinforce this confidence.

“I am for the police to have body cameras, but I am also for people to obey the police when they tell you to do something,” Joel Nielsen wrote. “If you have a problem with an officer, file a complaint. If you’ve been arrested, that’s what the courts are for.

Margery Lisle wrote: “These cameras will be useful to everyone involved in any encounter with police, both to document any possible abuse and to protect our law enforcement personnel from false accusations. Transparency is always a value, no matter which side of an ambiguous situation one adopts.

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