FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
HENNEPIN COUNTY ATTORNEY CANDIDATE PAUL OSTROW UNVEILS PLAN FOR LIVE-STREAMED BODY CAMERA VIDEOS
HENNEPIN COUNTY- Nonpartisan Hennepin County Attorney candidate Paul Ostrow has released “The Transparency Solution,” an ambitious proposal to implement cutting edge technology to live-stream body camera videos to a centralized video command center in Hennepin County. “We need to start weeding out any bad cops who disgrace the badges on their chest,” Ostrow said, while stressing that “we must stop demoralizing and demonizing all the good cops.” In a campaign video released earlier today Ostrow rejected the opportunistic political agendas of the extremes that either ignore the problems or vilify law enforcement. “I firmly believe that this level of transparency will be welcomed bylaw enforcement and citizens alike and can build partnerships critical to healing our divisions.”
Ostrow’s proposal is supported by veteran police Lieutenant Mark Klukow and by former Chair of the Police Conduct Oversight Commission Abigail Cerra. “As a police mid-manager this proposal seems like a dream,” Klukow said, adding that the plan would allow him to give advice and offer solutions to officers in real-time. Cerra also applauded the proposal. “Proper police oversight must be fair, balanced, and transparent. This proposal is a homerun on all three.” Cerra believes that with proper non-disclosure agreements and privacy protections, media and oversight representatives could have access to the video center, building trust and understanding.
A stronger partnership between Hennepin County law enforcement and the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office has been a central premise of Ostrow’s campaign. “This transforms the task of the ‘on call’ attorney in the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office,” Ostrow said. “Rather than just waiting by the phone at home prosecutors will be regularly participating in a virtual ride-along. Prosecutors will better understand the challenges of law enforcement and will be more able to recommend improvements in police practices.”
Ostrow acknowledged that supporters of a status quo that is working only for those who foster division may resist the plan. “This will take work, and this will take leadership,” Ostrow said, “but we cannot give in to the naysayers.”Ostrow also released a Fact Sheet for the proposal which is also attached.
THE TRANSPARENCY SOLUTION
A BLUEPRINT FOR TRANSFORMATION
The Transparency Solution will implement video technology to transform public safety. Live-stream body camera videos will be shown at a centrally located video headquarters in Hennepin County. Only those body camera videos activated by an emergency response or contact with a suspect or victim will be shown in real time. The County Attorney’s Office will staff the video center with its on-call attorneys. Precinct supervisors or command staff can be present to provide real-time guidance and supervision. Mental health professionals will be present to provide real-time advice to responding officers and to connect individuals to service providers. Citizens, media representatives, oversight committees and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights/Department of Justice can be present on the condition of non-disclosure agreements. The project will be overseen by a Task Force consisting of police administration, the Hennepin County Attorney, City Attorneys, community representatives, mental health and chemical dependency professionals and oversight bodies. Participation in the Transparency Project will be voluntary subject to approval by individual cities and law enforcement personnel.
- Prevent future tragedies like the assault and murder of George Floyd.
- Integrate best practices into policing with real-time information for supervisors and partners
- Incorporate emergency dispatch, medical and mental health resources, social workers, and chemical dependency resources into police response.
- Build trust and mutual respect between the community and law enforcement
- Provide a productive and positive avenue to other models of oversight by Department of Justice and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights
- Improve quality and timeliness of training and legal counsel from the Hennepin County Attorney and City Attorney’s Offices
- Restore balance to perceptions of law enforcement by providing citizens an opportunity to see and experience the challenges and positive work of law enforcement in their communities.
- Requires upgrade of body camera technology to add live-stream capabilities (already being used in metro cities)
- Capital expenditures to build out a video live stream headquarters with sufficient space for video screens and participants
- Funding of necessary personnel and information and data security services
- Supervisory and internal affairs personnel
- County and City Prosecutors providing on call services to law enforcement
- Representatives of the Minnesota Department of Human Rights and/or Department of Justice
- Any representatives of civilian review or oversight
- Nondisclosure Agreements executed by non-law enforcement personnel
- Development of Systems to Protect Privacy
- Collective Bargaining Agreements
- Statutory amendments to Minnesota Government Data Practices Act
THE ROLE OF THE HENNEPIN COUNTY ATTORNEY
There are only two elected officials in Hennepin County that are elected county-wide. Only the County Attorney has the statutory authority and responsibility to prosecute crime in every city in the County. Nonpartisan leadership must start with the County Attorney. The County Attorney is in the best position to lead this county-wide effort and to convene everyone that needs to be a part of the solution.
The murder of George Floyd and the increase in violent crime have divided us. Leadership requires action and leadership requires a new innovative solution. The time to act is now.