Updated: 07/03/2014 10:33 PM
Created: 07/03/2014 3:04 PM WDIO.com
Duluth Police officers are now able to record any interactions they have with the public. That's because each one of them has been assigned a body camera. On Thursday, those cameras became a standard part of the officers' uniforms.
"We've been testing them for about a month and a half. I know the officers are a little apprehensive at first. But then the officers who have worn them already, appreciate the fact they have the video to use if they need it," explained Sgt. Jayme Carlson.
The camera is a small black square that hooks onto the shirt-front of the uniform. It doesn't roll constantly. Officers have been trained to hit record before any interaction with people, like traffic stops and interviews.
Carlton told the media that the video is uploaded at the end of each shift, but the department will not be randomly viewing it. "It's for prosecution purposes, or if there's a complaint against an officer. Then we can look at the video."
He said that during the testing phase, one person dropped his or her complaint about the officer, because there was video evidence of the encounter.
The goal is also to improve officer safety. "Studies show people are less aggressive towards officers if they know they're on camera," Carlson said.
Plus, with video evidence, sometimes defendants are more likely to accept a plea deal. "It is going to help us cut down on time in court, for officers and prosecutors, and save time on investigations and complaints against officers."
Each camera costs about $300, and the department purchased almost 100 of them.
Day Dedicated to Exercise Help Kids Work Out the Wiggles
Wednesday's gorgeous weather made it hard to be indoors, and for kids ready to start summer break, sitting in a classroom can make them a bit fidgety. Instead of a traditional end of the year party, several Duluth teachers went a different route.
Wooden Railroad Bridge Burns and Collapses in N Minnesota
A wooden railroad bridge in Koochiching County collapsed Wednesday. The bridge is owned by Canadian National Railway. CN crew spotted a fire on the trestle just after 12:30 a.m. No one was injured.
No Injuries in Superior Plane Crash
Two men were not injured when a small plane crashed at Superior's Bong Memorial Airport on Wednesday afternoon. The plane crashed near the Upper Deck Restaurant at about 2:14 p.m.
Contagious Dog Flu Virus Reaches Minnesota
A new canine influenza virus that has sickened dogs across the Midwest has reached Minnesota.
Leaders Break Ground on $17.7M Port of Duluth Intermodal Project
Leaders from across the state and country gathered Wednesday to break ground on the largest infrastructure project undertaken by the Duluth Seaway Port Authority in nearly half a century.