SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Interactions between law enforcement and the public as well as police accountability have received considerable attention this year. Now, there is a proposed addition to the Sioux Falls Police Department that could enhance how this is all understood: police already have 30 body cameras, but the 2021 proposed budget includes 150 more body cameras for police. The 30 cameras already with the department are for specific officers.
“We designated those body cameras for officers that don’t have a camera already in their patrol car,” Sioux Falls Police Chief Matt Burns said. “So those are motorcycle officers, those are bicycle patrol officers, officers on foot patrol and also school resource officers inside the buildings.”
Every patrol car already has a dashcam that captures officers’ audio as well as video ahead of the car.
“The City will also continue the investment we began two years ago with the purchase of an additional 150 body cameras for our police force. This will allow each uniformed patrol officer to have a body camera,” Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken said. “These cameras will record our officers’ interactions while carrying out their duties and will help our police force better serve and protect this community.”
“It’s increased evidence collection, it’s increased officer accountability, but also the accountability of the persons that we interact with,” Burns said. “It’s a greater transparency and certainly a greater product, potentially, for the state’s attorney’s office to consider as they look at the cases that they wish to charge out.”
Burns also links cameras to the relationship between law enforcement and the public.
“There’s a greater amount of evidence collection,” Burns said. “There’s just a greater amount of recording our interactions with the public, gives the public greater confidence in the law enforcement that serves them on a daily basis.”