Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $78,000)
The Winona Police Department (WPD) is requesting funding through the US DOJ BWC PIP. The WPD is a full-service law enforcement agency with 39 sworn officers who provide 24-hour police service to 27,000 citizens. The department is submitting a request to fund 39 body worn cameras. The total request for this project is $156,000. The federal request is $78,000. The city will provide the required 50% match of $78,000.
Winona is in the southeastern corner of Minnesota, two hours south of the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area and one hour east of Rochester. In recent years, there have been incidents in Winona where trust between citizens and the department has been negatively affected and BWCs would have been beneficial in the aftermath. The WPD is the largest agency in the county that does not have BWC technology. Budgetary deficiencies have delayed the department in replacing even basic equipment.
The BWC program will demonstrate to the community that the department is committed to answering their questions about transparency, accountability and are listening to the concerns of those who are alleging inequality of service from Winona’s officers. The area serves several colleges/universities that have previously engaged with the department to request the usage of the BWC. The WPD believes BWCs can greatly increase the success of the department’s training programs as well.
To implement the BWC Program, the department will first hold community meetings and meet with community stakeholders to introduce the plans of the Winona Police Department to implement a BWC project in the community, gauge the acceptance of the project to the community, and to gather information on the public’s expectations. Once this is complete, the department, along with stakeholders will develop policies and procedures for the use of the cameras and digital media evidence. Personnel will then receive training, the cameras will be purchased and deployed, and the department will assess progress.
The Winona Police Department is committed to successful implementation of the BWC PIP. The project is fully supported by the Winona County District Attorney as well. The expected outcome of this project is to improve police services, community relations and prosecutions. The department has a clear understanding of what it will take to implement a successful BWC PIP and will ensure that the comprehensive approach to community input, policy development, training, implementation, and review described in this proposal is followed.