UMD police officers wear body cameras for the first time
âIt was something we wanted, something we had been asking for for years, but it took a while to get there,â said UMD Police Chief Sean Huls.
According to Huls, body cameras have been the subject of a conversation for about four years. But the University of Minnesota system had to secure funding for both the cameras and the more expensive data storage and management.
Huls said he always thought it was a good idea.
“Our department wanted it, our officers supported it, the police union supported it. And I think the community supported it,” he said. “It’s something that improves transparency, which we need more than ever.”
There are 12 licensed officers in the UMD force. They are all equipped with body cameras, but they will not capture video all the time.
âIn accordance with our policy, officers are required to turn on their body cameras for each service call they are made,â Huls said. “The only exception is if it wouldn’t be safe for them to do so.”
He said this would include a situation like a shootout in which an officer has to protect himself or others before worrying about pressing a button to start recording.
During the summer YourLocalSecurity.com examined crime data on campuses with more than 10,000 students and ranked the UMD as the safest in Minnesota. Huls attributed this to the collaboration.
âTo achieve the high level of campus security that we have here at UMD, it’s a team effort,â he said. âSo it’s not just the UMPDD, it’s our partners within the city and some of our local partners, the Duluth Police Department and some of the different entities on campus that we work with on a daily basis. . “