Fargo moving ahead with plans for police body cameras

August 11, 2020

FARGO, N.D. (KFGO) – Fargo city commissioners voted unanimously to direct the police department to move ahead with planning on the cost and use of body cameras for officers. Commissioners say they want to have input from the soon-to-be-named police chief about whether the cost of the cameras, estimated to be as much as $500,000, should be included in next year’s budget. Mayor Tim Mahoney says the city will have some “extra” state money coming from the COVID fund to help pay for the cameras.

The mayor says Panasonic, the camera vendor, plans a new model available by next spring with new technology. If the present model is purchased, it will be obsolete in two to three years. Mahoney says the budget team wants the new police chief to come up with a plan and present it to the city commission.

Interim Police Chief Ross Renner says the department met with the camera vendor two weeks ago to look at the options for the eventual purchase of the body cameras.

Renner says citizen complaints go down and court case convictions generally go up with the use of police body cams. He says most officers support the camera use because it provides an accurate picture of what’s happening.

The city commission will select a new police chief from a field of three finalists next month.