Updated: October 22, 2021 08:25 PM
Created: October 22, 2021 08:17 PM
For the first time, UMD police officers are wearing body cameras.
"It was something that we wanted, something that we had been asking for for years, but it took some time to get there," UMD Police Chief Sean Huls said.
According to Huls, body cameras have been a conversation for around four years. But the University of Minnesota system had to get funding for both the cameras and the more expensive data storage and management piece.
Huls said he's 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 enhances transparency, which we need now more than ever."
There are 12 licensed officers on the UMD force. They are all outfitted with body cameras, but they won't be capturing video constantly.
"Per our policy, officers are required to turn their body cameras on for every call for service that they get sent to," Huls said. "The only exception is if it wouldn't be safe for them to do so."
He said that would include a situation like a shooting in which an officer needs to protect themselves or others before worrying about pressing a button to start recording.
Over the summer, YourLocalSecurity.com looked at crime data on campuses with over 10,000 students and ranked UMD the safest in Minnesota. Huls credited that to collaboration.
"To attain the high level of campus safety that we do have here at UMD, it's a team effort," he said. "So it's not only UMDPD, it's our partners within the city and some of our local partners, Duluth Police Department, and some of the different entities on campus that we work with every day."
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