BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — In the digital age, there’s been an increased push for police transparency.
Now, the Bismarck Police Department is aiming to meet that need.
In order to increase transparency and safety, the Bismarck Police Department has now acquired body cameras for each officer.
“I hope that everybody’s felt that through my tenure here that I’ve wanted to be as open and transparent as we could possibly be,” said Chief Dave Draovitch. “This is another step towards that transparency. It also protects our citizens, visitors to our city, and our officers all at the same time.”
The body cameras are provided by Axon, a manufacturing company that produces technology to record incidents.
“Axon is a top-notch company,” added Draovitch. “We could not ask more of them, how they’ve treated us and how they’ve professionally come in here and helped us get this going.”
Officers started using body cams at the beginning of this month, and in-car cameras are currently being installed in all police cars.
The Bismarck Police Department says the partnership with Axon will cost them over $1,000,000 over the span of five years, but it’s an investment that’s worth the price tag.
Axon will continue to update equipment for the department as it develops new technology. One update in the works is what Deputy Chief Randy Ziegler calls a holster trigger.
“There’s actually a magnet in the holster,” said Ziegler. “We have very unique holsters I guess, so they haven’t come up with that technology yet, but, when I pull my gun out that will trigger and that will turn my body-worn camera on automatically, so I don’t have to do it.”
These updates will eliminate the potential for forgetfulness, which Ziegler says is a possibility.
“That is not our goal to hem up the officer because they forgot to turn on their camera, but if we see a pattern with officers not turning them on, we do have in our policy areas that specifically address that, we don’t think that’s going to be a problem, but if we think that’s going to be a trend or a pattern, we will absolutely address that and we will deal with it accordingly,” said Ziegler.
Ziegler says the department will assess the benefits of the body cameras and decide whether or not to renew the agreement with Axon at the end of the five-year contract.