October 31, 2016
On Thursday, Oct. 27, the public got its first opportunity to view the Body Worn Camera "Pilot Policy" on the Saint Paul Police Department website prior to the proposed Nov. 9, 2016 roll-out of "pilot" Body Worn Camera (BWC) program. At the same time, the Police Department asked the City Council to "invite the public to comment" on the policy at a public hearing this Wednesday, Nov. 2, at 5:30 p.m.
Saint Paul STRONG is concerned about the short notice and the very limited opportunity for the public to voice its concerns on a program with this level of impact on law enforcement and community relations in Saint Paul. In seeking further information on the short notice for the public hearing, Saint Paul STRONG learned that the BWC program and polices are the domain of the Mayor and Police Chief, and are not subject to City Council action or approval.
Saint Paul STRONG encourages citizens of Saint Paul to contact Mayor Coleman, Saint Paul Police Chief Axtell, and the City Council to ensure that there is an adequate opportunity for citizens to be heard and to submit comments on the body camera policy for the pilot project---prior to the program's implementation.
"In the interest of Saint Paul STRONG's core values of transparency, accountability, and public trust in City governance," said John Mannillo, "this vitally important and potentially controversial program should not appear to be scuttled by little notice and lack of public input. Garnering public trust in a matter of this magnitude is of paramount importance."
"While we know that the Police Department has conducted a 15-month process of meeting with key stakeholders and community groups about the BWC program," said Mannillo, "their work should not be short-changed by the perception that public comment and participation is an after-thought."
Saint Paul STRONG, as a group, does not take positions on any issues. We are a nonpartisan community-led organization dedicated to improving open and representative government in Saint Paul by encouraging and supporting open and transparent public processes at City Hall, engaging and empowering resident participation, and building a stronger, more inclusive Saint Paul.
For further information contact:
John Mannillo, Saint Paul STRONG spokesperson
Linda Winsor, Saint Paul STRONG communications