Minneapolis police officers are using their body cameras more than they did before the department changed its policy after the July shooting death of an Australian woman, the city’s police chief said Monday. One city council member says an internal audit shows use of the technology is inconsistent and some officers never turn them on, the Associated Press reports. Chief Medaria Arradondo changed the policy to require his officers to turn on their body cameras when responding to any call. The change came after an officer fatally shot Justine Ruszczyk Damond. The bride-to-be had called to report a possible sexual assault behind her home, and the responding officers did not turn on their body cameras before the shooting. The department’s previous policy gave officers discretion.
From July 29 to Aug. 27, officers recorded 55,729 videos with their body cameras. That’s up 133 percent from the 23,876 videos recorded from June 15 to July 14. The hours of video recorded jumped nearly 260 percent, from 2,521 in June and July to more than 9,000 hours recorded in the July to August period. Council member Linea Palmisano, who viewed an internal audit on the body camera program, says the findings in the report are “damning.” The audit is set to be released Tuesday. “There’s some people who never have it on,” Palmisano told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “This is a very expensive program and there isn’t oversight of this, and there isn’t governance.” Arradondo said he welcomes any recommendations from the audit. “There’s still a lot of work to be done, and we are still learning,” he said. He added that much like the implementation of squad car cameras or stun guns, it takes time for new technology to become widely accepted.