‘We’re kind of behind’: Eveleth considering body cameras for Police Department

Published: Mar. 31, 2022 at 5:41 PM CDT
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EVELETH, MN -- Eveleth’s Police Department could soon join thousands of departments nationwide in adopting body cameras.

On Tuesday, April 5, the City Council will vote on a proposal to purchase a system of cameras from Motorola for $67,000.

The money for the purchase was included in the city’s 2022 budget, meaning taxes will stay the same for community members.

“[Body cameras are] almost expected now. A lot of our residents are surprised we don’t have that. So we’re kind of behind right now,” said Police Chief Jesse Linde.

Linde says all 11 officers will receive a camera, which will be recording at all times.

The cameras are equipped with technology that can upload footage to the cloud upon certain triggers, such as turning on squad car lights or pulling a weapon from a holster.

Linde said adding body cameras has been a priority of his since he became the chief last year.

“We spent the better part of a year now looking at it, fine tuning it… in the last few weeks, we really started pushing for it,” said Linde.

Nathaniel Coward with Voices for Ethnic and Multicultural Awareness, or VEMA, believes adding body cameras is a good move but thinks more can be done.

“I think it’s an important first step. I mean there’s more that needs to be done, especially because you have the body cams, but then also now you need accountability,” said Coward.

Coward hopes the cameras can be an example for other departments on the iron range, showing the steps departments can take to mend relationships with the community.

“If they want to bridge, they want the community to have some trust, it starts with them. They have to do that. It has to be done,” he said.

The City of Eveleth is taking public comment on the initiative through next Tuesday.

You can submit your comments here.

The council will also hear public comments before they vote on the 5th.

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