Dickinson Police starts body camera program for officers

Published: Aug. 25, 2021 at 6:38 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - We live in an age when everyone’s actions are scrutinized, and that certainly includes the police. Dickinson Police officers are now wearing body cameras as part of their uniforms.

The change took place this summer and officers say they’re already seeing the benefits.

Dickinson Patrol Officer Jarett Blain starts every shift snapping his body camera into place.

“This is the body camera,” said Blain.

Since June, every patrol officer and investigator are wearing an Axon body camera. Officers just press a button and activate the camera to record what they’re seeing.

“It will rewind on a 30-second buffer, capture those 30 seconds that happened prior to the activation, and begin that recording, including audio at that point,” said Lt. Mike Hanel, Dickinson Police Department.

Hanel says Dickinson Police is one of the first agencies in the western part of the state to implement the cameras. He says CARES dollars from the federal government helped with purchasing the equipment.

Besides the footage helping as evidence for court cases, the body cameras help with transparency.

“When there’s a situation where there’s something in question, that is ethical, or moral dilemma that an officer is put in a situation that is risky, a video camera or body camera can clear up some of those issues,” said Blain.

The body cameras have a lot of useful features such as the ability to live stream what officers are seeing on scene from the office.

“Supervisor is able to monitor what is going on, on scene from the office here and be able to make tactical decisions based on what they’re seeing at that time,” said Hanel.

Officers also have sensors in their holsters that can signal the body cameras to start recording if they draw their firearm.

Hanel says the department may eventually expand its record staff to meet requests for body camera footage.

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