Calgary police body camera program back to square one after tech issues
'It's disappointing we have to start over'
Calgary police say they're back to square one with their plan to equip all front-line officers with body cameras after technical problems forced them to pull the cameras, and now, the force is on the hunt for a new supplier.
Acting Deputy Chief James Hardy says police couldn't come to an agreement with the vendor on how to sort out what CPS calls technical glitches with the technology.
"It's disappointing we have to start over," Hardy told CBC News.
"It really is."
- Police body cameras show promise, but raise questions
- Calgary police pull body cameras from officers due to technical glitches
The $1.3 million contract with the supplier has now been terminated.
Hardy won't reveal what went wrong because of potential legal issues but says police are considering options including possible legal action to recover money spent on the program.
The department has also started a search for a new supplier.
"I can't put a solid time frame on it, but we will be as aggressive as possible because we want to get these cameras out to our officers," Hardy explained.
Mount Royal University criminologist Kelly Sundberg says several law enforcement agencies are facing challenges with body cameras.
- Body-worn cameras to be on all front-line Calgary police within about a year
- Calgary police keeping cameras on uniforms
"I think the technology is on the cusp. The public demand is there," Sundberg said.
Calgary would have been the first major police agency in Canada to equip all of its frontline officers with cameras and officials say they're still pushing ahead with the plan.
Heffernan family not happy
Grant Heffernan's brother Anthony, 27, was shot and killed by Calgary police in March of 2015.
While the crown decided not to pursue charges against the officer, Grant says a body camera at the time could have led to a different outcome.
"It is extremely important for the Calgary police to wear body cameras on their vests and it should be their number one concern," Grant told CBC News.
"We have seen just recently that if it wasn't for the camera from the police cruisers car, the three officers might not be charged because their story did not match the video evidence. And I strongly believe that if there was video from when [the officer] murdered my brother Anthony, he would be facing criminal charges," he said.
CBC News reached out to the company that supplied the cameras, but it declined to comment.
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With files from Dave Gilson