Calgary police to ramp up camera presence in vehicles

As Calgary police prepare to install video cameras into its fleet with help from a recent funding boost, CBC News gets an exclusive look into what kind of footage the cameras will capture on a regular basis.

Police say it will cost $1.8 million to install video cameras into its fleet

Helicopter footage courtesy the Calgary Police Service. Part of CBC's exclusive coverage of Calgary police plans to install more in-car cameras in its fleet. 0:36

Armed with a reinforced budget for 2012, the Calgary Police Service is preparing to install video cameras in virtually all of its vehicles.

The police say putting cameras in its cars will help protect officers and the public, as well as capture valuable evidence for court cases.

In a CBC News exclusive, reporter Scott Dippel got a first-hand look from acting Sgt. Evel Kiez as he demonstrated how the police in-car video system works with a recording of a speeding driver on Deerfoot Trail.

"See, now I'm getting a hit of 131, so someone's coming up fast, here he comes here," said Kiez as he points out the speeding MINI Cooper driving by.

With installation starting in 2007, Calgary police now have in-car audio and video recording systems in 23 vehicles and two helicopters.

Kiez says the plan is to have a total of 350 police vehicles with video cameras by 2013 — at a cost of $1.8 million — to record everything from traffic stops to collisions, routine arrests to car chases.

Cameras everywhere are already recording police officers on the job, Kiez says, from security cameras to cell phones, but this will generate more evidence the police can use in court.

"What we're trying to achieve here is get the best video and the best audio so we get the full officer contact with the public, so there's no wrong-doing on the part of the officer and no wrong-doing on the part of the suspect or the accused," he said, adding it also helps quash frivolous complaints against police members.

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For more on this story watch CBC News Calgary at 5 p.m. on Wednesday.

The cameras can record the dash view, arrests put in the backseat and even has a audio recorder that can capture conversations from 1,000 feet away from the cruiser.

When officers return to the station, the video wirelessly uploads and there are measures in place to restrict tampering. In a crash situation, a sensor automatically activates the camera.