Calgary

Calgary police pull body cameras from officers due to technical glitches

The Calgary Police Service is recalling its new body cameras due to safety and technical concerns — a move that could impede its goal of becoming the first major force in Canada to issue them to all front-line officers.

May slow CPS plan to be 1st major force in Canada to issue them to all front-line officers by early 2017

The cameras are integrated into officers' lapel radios, which are getting stuck open or not working all together. (Calgary Police Service/YouTube)

The Calgary Police Service is pulling its new body cameras off city streets due to safety and technical concerns — a move that could impede its goal of becoming the first major force in Canada to issue them to all front-line officers.

The timeline to have all front-line officers wearing the cameras as part of their uniforms by early 2017 may now not be feasible, according to Kevin Brookwell, spokesman for the Calgary Police Service.

"It's a new program, this was anticipated," said Brookwell. "That's why it was such a staged rollout."

In November, the service completed a piloting period with officers in the traffic unit and District 1, who had been testing the cameras ahead of the service-wide rollout.

The problems were not identified in a nearly year-long testing period.  

Microphones get stuck or stop working

The service is now working to determine how to fix the problem.

One of the issues identified was that the microphone on the radio portion of 14 of the cameras would get stuck open or stop working all together.

Officials have decided to test all 150 of the devices "as a proactive measure," police said in a release.

It's believed they are still be under warranty, according to Brookwell, who says this likely won't cost the service any more money.

"The company we're dealing with have been very responsive to addressing our concerns," said Brookwell.

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.

The service has been evaluating the footage and looking into how this new evidence will affect the court process while introducing the cameras two districts at a time.

Brookwell says while only a small number of the cameras may be affected, when safety is a concern, it's better to err on the side of caution.

"This is something that as soon as we heard ... we knew, it's just smart to bring them all in."

The 26 body-worn cameras used by police in the traffic section, which do not have built-in microphones, are unaffected and will not be tested. 

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