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The original item was published from 10/26/2023 10:08:33 AM to 12/1/2023 12:00:04 AM.

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Posted on: October 26, 2023

[ARCHIVED] West Fargo Police Department launches body worn camera program

West Fargo Police Department launches body worn camera program (PNG)

The West Fargo Police Department has launched its new body worn camera program department wide. The use of body worn cameras is intended to enhance the mission of the West Fargo Police Department by accurately capturing contacts between members of the department and the public.   

“The addition of the body worn camera program will continue to reinforce community trust and commitment to transparency,” said Chief Pete Nielsen. “Our officers are excited to utilize the body worn cameras as an additional tool for the security of our residents, officers and city.”

Every sworn officer will be equipped with a body worn camera for their entire shift. The camera is to be activated to record all calls for service including the following situations: 

  • All enforcement activities and investigative contacts including stops, field interviews, and the service of search warrants and arrest warrants
  • Traffic stops including, but not limited to, traffic violations, stranded motorist assistance and all crime interdiction stops
  • Self-initiated activity in which a member would normally notify Central Dispatch 
  • Any other contact that becomes adversarial after the initial contact in a situation that would not otherwise require recording

The body worn cameras automatically activate when triggered by events including removal of a duty weapon from the holster, lights and sirens engaged, elevated patrol vehicle speeds, a vehicle collision and removal of a rifle from patrol vehicles. 

The footage will be stored on secure online servers for review and will be retained for a period consistent with the requirements of the organization’s records retention schedule but in no event for a period less than 180 days. Requests for the release of audio/video recordings shall be processed in accordance with the Records Maintenance and Release Policy.  

The West Fargo Police Department selected WatchGuard body worn cameras after testing the system on an initial group of officers in May 2023. Motorola Solution’s WatchGuard system was selected as the program is cost-effective due to the compatibility with the department’s current in-car and interview room camera systems. Motorola Solution’s WatchGuard is a leading provider in the body worn camera industry and is used widely throughout the law enforcement community. 

Over 80 body worn cameras will be deployed to all sworn personnel and Community Service Officers. Training is anticipated to be complete for applicable personnel by the end of the month. 

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