Minneapolis police officers must keep their body cameras on at all times during calls, according to a new policy announced by the city's mayor and police chief.
According to ABC News, the officers will now have to keep their body cams on, even while having casual conversations at crime scenes with coworkers. The new policy was created in an effort to increase police accountability and transparency following the killing of George Floyd, a Black man who was killed at the hands of four Minneapolis police officers last May.
“Strengthening accountability and increasing transparency have been cornerstones of our community safety work,” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said in a statement.
He continued, “This update helps leadership provide a more complete and accurate picture during and after incidents, and puts officers in a better position to hold each other accountable.”
According to Police Chief Medaria Arradondo and Mayor Frey, the new policy will take effect on Thursday (Feb. 4). “We’ve seen as a community and as a police force, body camera footage increasingly plays a crucial role in understanding critical events in our community,” Arradondo said in a statement. “Accountability is not achieved with any single solution, but changes like this move us toward an even more transparent approach to public safety and building trust with the communities we serve.”
During a 2017 audit, the city of Minneapolis found that officers were turning off their body cams 65% of the time while answering calls. The audit caused Minneapolis police officials to require officers to activate their body cameras during traffic stops, interactions with the public and while responding to 911 calls.
There will be some exceptions to the new policy. Officers will be allowed to keep their body cams off while they interview sexual assault victims. The police department also recently revised its use of force policy. Chokeholds and neck restraints are now banned from practice and officers have to intervene if their coworker uses unauthorized force.