New Brunswick

Fredericton police set to outfit officers with body cameras

Fredericton Police Force will be equipping officers with body cameras.

City buys 6 body cameras and new recording gear for interview suites at police headquarters

The Fredericton Police Force experimented with body cameras last spring for a 90-day pilot project. At Monday night's city council meeting, councillors approved the cameras for the police force. (CBC)

Fredericton police officers are getting body cameras — only this time it's a more permanent piece of equipment. 

At a Monday night meeting, city councillors approved a $115,000 agreement with Axon Public Safety Canada Inc., for six body cameras and new digital audio-visual recording equipment to upgrade interview rooms at police headquarters.

This is the same company the police force worked alongside during last year's 90-day pilot project with body cameras.

Leanne Fitch, the Fredericton police chief, said the cameras will help protect officers, particularly those at traffic stops.

"They have the most frequent contacts with the public and we find that there are often times, complaints from those traffic stops," she said.

"People aren't happy with getting a ticket."

Leanne Fitch, police chief with the Fredericton Police Force, said officers will start wearing body cameras soon after the equipment arrives and staff members are trained. (Gary Moore/CBC)

Fitch couldn't say for certain whether any data from the pilot project was used in court. But the new equipment will help with investigations and gathering evidence in the future. 

Once the pilot project was completed, the police force did a public survey and received several responses in support of officers wearing the cameras.

Officers will start using the new equipment as soon as the force receives the gear and staff members are trained.

The contract with Axon will last until 2023 with the option to extend for another term.

Officers will also give disclaimers to alert people they're being filmed, she said.

Interview suites upgraded

The new digital management system, which the city purchased, also includes new technology for interview suites at headquarters.

Both the body cameras and new recording equipment in the interview suites will be connected to a cloud system for storage. 

"It's going to save a lot of staff time for typing and transcribing tapes and interviews," said Fitch.

Six Fredericton police officers started using body cameras Friday for a 90-day trial of the technology that could help increase public trust, the deputy chief says. 0:50

"It's going to save time burning discs to go down to the crown prosecutors for disclosure for court purposes."

Fitch said she's confident in Axon's technology and isn't concerned about potential security risks from the cloud storage.

"They [Axon] have spent a ton of money and many years in research and development and testing. I have more confidence in this than a built-at-home model."

"In this day and age again, technology can be breached in many fashions — whether it's an on premise server or in the cloud."

About the Author

Gary Moore

CBC News

Gary Moore is a video journalist based in Fredericton.