Mandan police are one step closer to having body cameras.
“The time has come for law enforcement to really start considering how to be more transparent in what we’re doing,” Mandan Police Chief Jason Ziegler said.
Mandan City Commission unanimously approved the police department’s request to apply for federal funding of the technology. The grant could save the city about $36,000 on 28 body cameras if the department gets the approval.
“Police officers want to make sure that our communities are protected and let them know we don’t have anything to hide,” Ziegler said.
Ziegler says having footage of incidents protects citizens and officers in court, and helps collect probable cause for arrests.
“Body cams are becoming more of a necessary need more than a want nowadays in policing,” Ziegler said.
The Department of Justice grant would help cover costs of cameras as well as 90 days of cloud storage and a five-year subscription with the company Digital-Ally.
Ziegler says the application will be in by the end of July, but it could be months before the DOJ decides which departments across the country will receive the money. If approved, the department would have to go back to the Mandan city commission for their approval of funding.
If denied, Ziegler says the department will still request funding for the devices, even without the federal grant — a cost of about $182,000.
“Whatever is going on out there is going on and people deserve to see it when they’re allowed to see it,” Ziegler said.
Other police departments in the state have already implemented the technology.
The Lincoln Police Department has five body cameras, each of which link up to the squad cars when officers are out on patrol.
Lincoln got three body cams in early 2020. They’ve since added two more, and all police on duty wear them, including Officer Skylar Terrill.
“The big thing on it is accountability and I feel like any officer who’s doing their job correctly is going to be so happy to have that with them,” Terrill said.
Police Chief Robyn Krile says the officers there wanted the technology.
“They saw how it could be beneficial not only for keeping us safe but keeping the public safe out there and they felt it was instrumental in our jobs in having that extra set of eyes,” Krile said.
She says the videos have been useful for prosecutors and even helped officers in training.