Police in Halifax say they’re considering wearing cameras on their lapels, mirroring a pilot project out of Toronto that could transform how officers interact with the public.
Toronto police officers may soon be wearing body cameras to patrol the streets. The cameras would monitor every move the officer makes and record their interaction with civilians.
Halifax’s deputy chief Bill Moore said he’s paying attention.
“I think they are a good tool in the appropriate circumstance. It is relatively new and we will be monitoring and see where Toronto goes with it,” he said.
Ron MacDonald of the Serious Incident Response Team in Nova Scotia is curious too. His unit investigates whenever a civilian is seriously hurt in the presence of police.
“Video is excellent evidence of what has happened. It's just evidence, but it's always a good thing to have video evidence,” he said.
A study out of California showed that adopting body-worn cameras led to a 50 per cent drop in the use of force. At the same time, public complaints against police dropped by 90 per cent.
“When people on both sides know they're being watched, they know the video represents most of what happened and perhaps less likely to come forward that doesn't match the facts,” said MacDonald.
Bringing body-worn cameras into general use is a technical challenge for police forces. One problem is how to store the terabytes of video.
The Halifax Regional Police force is moving to computerize most of its record and Moore said body cameras could become part of that effort.
Toronto police said the project is still in the research phase, with a pilot project potentially starting in the second half of this year.
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