Moorhead Police Department to join neighbor in sporting body cameras
The city had been working for a year and a half to determine which camera suited officers the best before deciding to work with Axon Co. of Scottsdale, Arizona.
MOORHEAD — Police officers in Moorhead will add another piece of equipment to their vests next week after a year and a half of behind-the-scenes planning .
“Well, the time is almost here for our body cams,” Moorhead Police Captain Deric Swenson told Moorhead City Council during their meeting on Monday, March 27.
At 8 a.m. on Monday, April 3, all Moorhead officers including community service officers and cadets will start sporting their new body cameras, a policy the Fargo Police Department implemented in 2021.
The cameras were brought about through collaboration between the Moorhead Police Department, City Council and the IT and finance departments.
“I know this has been a process that we have been going through for quite a while,” Mayor Shelly Carlson said.
The city chose to work with Axon Co. of Scottsdale, Arizona, after working for a year and a half to determine which camera suited officers the best. “It was very easy for the officers to use,” Swenson said.
The decision came after contemplating three companies, and basing factors on user friendliness, quality of the cameras, servers, security and cloud services. The department also looked into how it would store the equipment and how to redact anything that might need redacting.
Each potential camera was also put through extensive testing in the field, said Swenson, adding the cameras were even tested for performance in stringent cold weather to determine their compatibility with Moorhead’s climate.
“Based on the recommendations from many different sources, we wanted to move forward with those body cams as soon as we could,” Swenson said, noting the real test begins next week.
Axon Co., which Moorhead has entered into a five-year contract with worth $100,000 per year, is the same public safety technology company in partnership with Fargo police, the Minnesota State Patrol and a few Clay County agencies, Swenson added.
The body cameras have four microphones included that records clear audio, one forward wide-angle lens camera and a built-in 60-second prerecord setting. The prerecord begins after an officer activates the body camera and goes back 60 seconds and saves the video. The function does not capture those 60 seconds of audio, however.
The cameras are also automatically activated when an officer removes either their gun or taser, Swenson said. From there, footage is stored to the Cloud where it is simple to keep track of.
Fargo police have called the cameras "life-changing" since the department began using them in 2021.
"I haven't met an officer who hasn't liked the cameras. Most officers are very supportive. It's been amazing," he said.