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Freeborn Co. Sheriff's Office, Albert Lea Police roll out body camera pilot program

Both entities say the trial run should take a couple weeks before equipping their staff, adding they will take longer if necessary.

Posted: Jan. 14, 2019 11:14 PM

ALBERT LEA, Minn. - Law enforcement are steps closer to their staffs being equipped with body cameras.

Both the Albert Lea Police Department and Freeborn County Sheriff's Office are doing a pilot program. Since last week, two deputies and four officers have been wearing body cameras as a trial run to learn more about them.

"I want to get going on this. I don't want to kill time," Freeborn County Sheriff Kurt Freitag said. "I want our staff trained and I want these on the road."

The hope is after a couple of weeks, the ones with cameras will report back to the remaining staff on how to use them.

In reference to the officer-involved shooting a couple of weeks ago in Albert Lea, some community members think the cameras would've been beneficial to have.

"It would've helped out a lot," Steve Anderson, of Albert Lea, said. "I don't know much about the investigation, but if they would've had it I think it would've been cut and dry."

However, technology isn't perfect.

"If the officer's in a foot chase or running after someone or gets into a tussle with someone, it [the camera] might be damaged or fall off or get shut off and then we lose that video," Deputy Chief Darren Hanson, of the Albert Lea Police Department, said. "So they're not 100-percent and we have to be realistic of our expectations of the program."

Still, both entities say having more evidence is better.

In all, the Sheriff's Office has 22 body cameras while the police department has 25.

They say the trial run should take a couple weeks, adding they will take longer if necessary.

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