Body-worn cameras to be on all front-line Calgary police within about a year

All front-line officers will wear video cameras on their bodies as part of their uniforms by the end of 2016 or early 2017, the Calgary Police Service says.

Officers to activate cameras when responding to a call or investigating an emergent situation

Staff Sgt. Todd Robertson shows off the body cameras that all front-line Calgary Police Service members will wear by the beginning of 2017. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

All front-line officers will wear video cameras on their bodies as part of their uniforms by early 2017, the Calgary police announced Thursday.

"It can paint a story that no amount of words can capture," Deputy Chief Paul Cook said.

Const. Ottis Scott-Sabula and Const. Trevor Marquis are both equipped with the new technology. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

"I have no doubt that wearing body-worn cameras is the right move for the service and equally important for our community."

Officials announced the new timeframe Thursday, after completing a test of the body-worn cameras on a small group of officers working in District 1 and on traffic duty.

The service plans to evaluate the footage and policies surrounding the cameras for the next two months before beginning to add the cameras to more uniforms.

Deputy Chief Paul Cook of the Calgary police says balancing privacy with the benefits of body-worn cameras on officers is a priority. (CBC)

Under the current policy, officers are to activate the cameras when responding to a call or when they come across an incident requiring investigation.

Officers are also permitted to shut off the cameras at their discretion but will be expected to justify their decisions to record or not record a particular situation.

Cook said the public should expect that interactions with an officer will may be recorded, "however, they can also be confident in the knowledge that the videos captured are treated like any other evidence and stored securely."

"The matter of balancing privacy with the benefits of using the technology for public safety has been a priority since the inception of the program," Cook said.