South Dakota police force gets $40,000 body camera grant

August 26, 2018

YANKTON, S.D. (AP) — A South Dakota police department has received a $40,000 state grant to equip its officers with body cameras in an effort to improve transparency.

The Yankton Police Department has spent nearly a year researching the equipment, The Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan reported. Former Chief Brian Paulsen began testing camera models earlier this year. Models tested included body-worn camera and cameras mounted onto glasses.

The grant from the South Dakota attorney general’s office will cover the purchase of 30 cameras that will equip the whole department, said John Harris, the interim police chief. The money was made available from the state’s asset forfeiture funds, he said.

“It really is good for the officers, from our standpoint as a city, because it protects us from people making allegations that aren’t true against us,” Harris said. “It also protects the citizens because it makes sure that everything we do and those actions are on tape and there’s no question of what happened.”

The length of time videos will be kept will depend on the severity of the situation, Harris said.

“The more serious events are kept in evidence until they’re no longer needed,” he said. “In some cases, they’ll be kept forever — for example, in a homicide case, anything like that would be kept literally forever. Traffic stops and those things, its 60 days we keep them and then they go away.”

Harris said some cameras have already been deployed and the rest will be purchased in the coming days.


Information from: Yankton Press and Dakotan, http://www.yankton.net/

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