The West St. Paul Police Department wants community input on two big issues—the hiring process for a new police chief and body cameras.
For the past three years the Police Department has been researching body cameras. They’re currently testing the final brand of cameras and software, and are also seeking public input on a body camera policy.
Police body cameras have made a significant difference in recent years in officer-involved shootings and other disputed incidents. But they’re also not a cure-all. Policies around when cameras are required to be turned on and how the footage is made available to the public can drastically change the effectiveness of body cameras.
The Dakota County Sheriff is also seeking input on their body camera policy. You can read their draft policy and submit input via email or public meetings. Dakota County is seeking input until Aug. 20.
Hiring Process for the Police Chief
Former West St. Paul Police Chief Bud Shaver retired in May after serving as chief since 2005. According to city charter, the city manager is responsible for hiring the police chief and there’s no required process.
West St. Paul City Manager Ryan Schroeder has outlined a process of getting public input and creating a committee of department heads and police chiefs from other departments. He has not decided if this will be an internal search or widen the pool to include external candidates.
Schroeder recently finished hosting a series of meetings with the public to solicit input about the new police chief. There is also an online survey (available in English and Spanish) where you can offer input.
As a result of feedback from those public meetings, the online survey will be extended through Aug. 11 to better solicit feedback from the upcoming Night to Unite on Aug. 6. Fliers will be distributed to Night to Unite block organizers and hopefully encourage more people to share their input.
(Psst… today’s the last day to officially register your block with the city for Night to Unite)