Calgary

Calgary police to sue original supplier as search continues for body cameras

Calgary police issued a new request for proposals Tuesday seeking 250 body worn cameras to be used by frontline officers on the same day court action was launched against a previous supplier.

$586K statement of claim filed Tuesday against Safety Innovations Inc. and Safety Innovations LLC

A Calgary police officer shows off a personal body worn camera in 2015, when the force announced it would roll them out to officers by the start of 2017. The police service issued a new request for proposals for the cameras on Tuesday, the same day court action was launched against the previous supplier. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

Calgary police issued a new request for proposals Tuesday seeking 250 body worn cameras (BWCs) to be used by frontline officers on the same day court action was launched against a previous supplier.

Suppliers have until Oct. 11 to apply, and the plan is to have one chosen by end of January.

The cameras will initially be worn by officers not equipped with in-car digital video, including beat officers who walk rather than drive to patrol and members of the mountain bike unit.

"We're looking at the officers within that operational environment that might not be in a car or might not have in-car digital," said Deputy Chief Bob Ritchie of the bureau of corporate support.

What the new cameras will look like, where they will be worn on the uniform and how they will be powered will depend on which company is chosen, said Ritchie.

"We will select one vendor, that one vendor will provide us their technology, whether it's a combination of software and hardware [and] what type of services and supports," he said.

The BWCs will have five main goals:

  • Enhance transparency, public trust and confidence.
  • Collection of evidence.
  • Enhance officer accountability and professionalism.
  • Protect officers from unfounded allegations of misconduct.
  • De-escalate a situation.

Members of the traffic unit and District 1 began wearing cameras in August 2015 following an initial proposal seeking 1,100 cameras, but that was stopped after just seven months when technical issues were deemed to compromise officer safety.

The city continued negotiating with Safety Innovations Inc. and Safety Innovations LLC — the suppliers awarded the initial $753,685.02 contract. However, an arrangement to test updated products couldn't be reached and the city terminated the contract in September 2016. 

The city also announced Tuesday it has filed a statement of claim against the suppliers for the amount of $586,000.

Because the matter is now before the courts, Ritchie declined to comment on the legal action.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi said he supports the use of cameras and suppliers have to be held to "the highest quality possible."

"The city procures literally billions of dollars every single year in goods and services and in those cases, where suppliers are not able to meet their performance standards, then we're not going to sit back and let them have the money," he said. 

"If you get taxpayer money, you are expected to give taxpayers value."

now