For the first time, sworn officers in the Medina Police Department will be wearing body cameras.

The Medina City Council, Tuesday, July 6, authorized Medina Police to purchase 12 body-worn cameras for sworn police officers and six cameras for Medina squad cars at a cost of roughly $105,842.

At the meeting, the council also took up other business. Here are meeting highlights.

POLICE BODY-WORN AND SQUAD CAMERAS

Medina Police have had cameras in their squad cars since the early to mid-1990s, said Medina Police Chief Jason Nelson in his staff report. Current squad cameras are over seven years old and “past the end of life.” Shortly after he became chief, he set up a working group to look for the best squad and body camera solution that would work for Medina Police.

The department also deployed gun-mounted cameras for sworn officers in 2019. At that time the city council and police department created a Portable Audio and Video Recorders Policy, per Minnesota state statutes, and held a hearing for public comment. Among other things, the policy covers when recorders should be activated, when they should be turned off, preservation of data and recordings and people who can have access to recordings.

Nelson noted that many people are demanding police reforms that include police accountability and transparency. “I firmly believe that adding the body camera solution, in addition to our squad and gun cameras, is a giant step in the right direction towards both accountability and transparency,” he said.

At the July 6 city council meeting, the council and police again asked for public comment on the policy and camera purchases. No one spoke up. Nelson said Medina Police got three positive comments from the public about cameras providing transparency, accountability and protection for officers.

Medina Police received price quotes from five squad and body camera vendors. The department chose WatchGuard. The company would provide a cloud-based solution and a storage plan that would meet the department’s needs for the next five to seven years. WatchGuard will provide Medina Police with new and upgraded body cameras in three years.

OTHER

The city council also:

APPROVED plans for the Shire Road street improvement project, ordered the project and adopted the assessment roll. Fifty percent of the $132,920 cost of the project will be assessed to benefiting property owners Rockler Family LLP, Galloway Real Estate Holdings and Twin City Outdoor Services Inc.

APPROVED a resolution allowing Wayzata Youth Hockey Dist. 284 to conduct Bingo at Medina Celebration Day on Sept. 18.

APPROVED a temporary On-Sale Liquor License for Church of the Holy Name of Jesus, 155 County Road 24, for Sept. 18 at a church celebration.

ACCEPTED the resignation of Public Works Maintenance Technician Nick Zumbusch and authorized recruitment of his successor.

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