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Moorhead police aim to have body cameras by early 2023

By adopting body cams, Moorhead is joining most of the other law enforcement agencies in the Fargo-Moorhead area that have acquired, or, like Moorhead, are working to obtain, body cameras for officers.

Dilworth Police Investigator Hunter Rawson wears a body camera while on duty in this photo taken in 2016. Forum file photo
Dilworth Police Investigator Hunter Rawson wears a body camera while on duty in this photo taken in 2016.
Forum file photo
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MOORHEAD — The Moorhead Police Department is evaluating different types of body cameras with the goal of having cameras ordered and possibly in use by January 2023.

Four police officers have been "wear testing" three different camera products and the choice on which product to go with will ultimately be narrowed to two, according to information from the city of Moorhead.

At that point, final cost, quality and features will be compared and a final selection made.

The cost to the city in taking on the new technology is expected to be about $500,000 over five years, according to Capt. Deric Swenson, who said information technology staff have been instrumental in helping the police department understand how the body cameras and the software supporting them will be used.

Moorhead police are planning to hold public meetings to showcase and explain the camera systems before the devices are put to use by officers.

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Once implemented, cameras will be worn by uniformed patrol officers and supervisors, as well as by community service officers and cadets.

Investigators will also wear cameras during specific operations, while administration and the community policing coordinator will have body cameras on for particular duties.

"Body worn cameras will help ensure that accurate information is gathered during interactions between officers and the public. Our goal is to increase safety for all involved," Swenson said.

Across the Red River, Fargo police have said body cameras have been an asset to the department.

During a presentation earlier this year, Fargo Police Lt. Shane Aberle told the Police Advisory & Oversight Board that there had been "numerous incidents" when the department's body cameras had helped to disprove claims that officers had used excessive force.

Aberle pointed out in his presentation that the cameras also benefit residents and people who are arrested, as they help to make sure proper procedures are followed.

Aberle described the cameras, which at that time had been used by the department for more than six months, as life changing.

"I haven't met an officer who hasn't liked the cameras. Most officers are very supportive. It's been amazing," he said.

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By adopting body cams, Moorhead is joining most of the other law enforcement agencies in the Fargo-Moorhead area that have acquired, or, like Moorhead, are working to obtain body cameras for officers.

Those agencies include:

  • Dilworth Police Department
  • Cass County Sheriff's Office
  • Clay County Sheriff's Office
  • Fargo Police Department
  • North Dakota Highway Patrol
  • Minnesota State Patrol
  • North Dakota State University Police and Safety Office
  • West Fargo Police Department
I'm a reporter and a photographer and sometimes I create videos to go with my stories.

I graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead and in my time with The Forum I have covered a number of beats, from cops and courts to business and education.

I've also written about UFOs, ghosts, dinosaur bones and the planet Pluto.

You may reach me by phone at 701-241-5555, or by email at dolson@forumcomm.com
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