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All Amherstburg frontline police now wearing body cameras

Amherstburg police Chief Tim Berthiaume told CBC’s Geoff Nixon all frontline officers began wearing the cameras Jan. 1.
Amherstburg police Sgt. Scott Riddell shows off a body camera officers there wear.

Complaints about rude police officers in Amherstburg have reportedly been nearly eliminated now that men and women on patrol are wearing body cameras.

All frontline officers of the Amherstburg Police Service have been wearing the devices since Jan. 1, which has eliminated complaints of incivility, according to chief Tim Berthiaume.

"It has allowed for the opportunity to be more transparent, identify training needs, and prevent frivolous and vexatious complaints against the police officers," he told CBC News. "It has virtually eliminated the public complaint about incivility."

Berthiaume called the cameras a good fit in Amherstburg, for both the town and the police.

The data they are collecting through the cameras is manageable for the department, he said.

Amherstburg is collecting less data than some other departments that are still testing the use of body cameras, Berthiaume said.

Amherstburg police officers started wearing body cameras as a part of pilot project back in 2013. At the time, the service was only the second in the province to equip officers with body cameras.

Money to equip every officer with a camera was made available in the 2015 budget.

Police only turn the cameras on when they respond to a call, and they notify people they are being recorded, Berthiaume said. People cannot refuse to be recorded while in public.

When in someone's home, police will turn the camera off if the homeowner disapproves of its use.

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