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Airport Police Department body camera rollout

‚ÄčBeginning Feb. 10, the Airport Police Department (APD) will start issuing body-worn cameras (BWCs) to all full- and part-time police officers. The complete rollout, to include training, is expected to take several weeks and should conclude by the end of March. 

Community service officers/traffic control agents, who have worn BWCs for over a decade, will also be equipped with new cameras. As part of this project, cameras will be replaced in squad cars and in the Police Operations Center (sally port entrances, booking/interview rooms and holding cells). 

While squad car and closed-circuit television cameras have been used for years, the addition of BWCs will lead to greater video documentation of interactions between officers and the public. The process to begin integrating body cameras into the police officers' daily operations started in January of 2021. 

"Outfitting our police officers with body cameras is something we've been discussing for a while, and everyone is pleased that the time has finally arrived," Police Chief Matt Christenson said. "Staff from the APD and IT spent considerable time evaluating vendors, with Axon Enterprise, Inc., ultimately being selected." 

Each camera only weighs a few ounces and will predominantly be worn at the center of an officer's chest. 

"The cameras are another way to enhance public safety by improving officer safety, providing transparency, and increasing trust between law enforcement and the community it serves," said Craig Olson, deputy chief of the APD. 

Cameras will not continuously record. However, policy requires that they be activated during every call for service. Officers are not required to activate cameras when it would be unsafe, impossible, or impractical to do so, but such instances will be documented in the officer's report. 

Informal conversations with citizens and fellow APD or airport employees will not be recorded if these encounters are not law enforcement related or adversarial such as assisting with directions, providing airport information, or having a work-related or general conversation with co-workers, and a recording of the event would not yield information relevant to an ongoing investigation.

The department is excited about using this new technology to help provide enhanced understanding of what happens during incidents and to utilize the footage as a training tool. The APD expects the body-worn cameras will both enhance transparency and trust and provide the opportunity to capture the good work officers accomplish on a daily basis.