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Bismarck police now have body-cams

Bismarck Deputy Police Chief Randy Ziegler holds up the new Axon body-cam
Dave Thompson
Bismarck Deputy Police Chief Randy Ziegler holds up the new Axon body-cam

The Bismarck Police Department has become the latest North Dakota law enforcement agency to have body cams.

The Bismarck City Commission approved spending $1.2 million to equip all officers, squad cars and interrogation rooms with the cameras.

"Our officers wanted these," said Bismarck Assistant Chief of Police Randy Ziegler. "Weeks ago, they wanted to go live, and get these our there so bad."

Ziegler said officers first had to undergo some training.

The cameras are made by Axon. They’re high-definition cameras.

"Especially in the age that we live in, transparency is so important," Ziegler told reporters. "It is going to add on to the transparency piece we already have. Now it's going to make that better."

Police Chief Dave Draovich said this will help protect Bismarck citizens, visitors — and the officers themselves.

"We can go to the video now," Draovich told reporters. "If the officers are taking any kind of enforcement action, or think they may be, they will have their camera on. If they're just walking around, downtown, and they run into you, they will not have it on. If something happens, they can activate it."

The Axon system is also used by Fargo police, the Cass County Sheriff’s Office and Dickinson police.

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