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Body cameras on Toronto police move one step closer

CityNews | posted Friday, Oct 21st, 2016

police-cams

Toronto police have moved one step closer to wearing body cameras.

A meeting of the Police Services Board on Thursday approved the $500,000 in funding needed to hire a commissioner to look at the implementation of the body cams.

Those emerging from the meeting on Thursday said there were still some obvious questions to address before the body cam system is fully implemented.

“There are three schools of thought; Leave it up to the officer, have a strict protocol or just turn it on when your shift begins and leave it on,” explained Councillor Shelley Carroll.

“Having it on for the whole shift is in a way not realistic, but what is important is that once it is on for an interaction, the technology is good enough now that there really is no excuse for ‘oops, it turned off as I was in pursuit of this person.’ That’s exactly when I want the footage.”

Mayor John Tory said the decisions made Thursday were simply a first step forward in a bigger discussion.

“There is lots of homework to be done,” said Mayor John Tory. “But I think they will be a very useful tool in terms of law enforcement but more importantly, in building up confidence in policing.”

An 11-month pilot project that concluded last March saw 85 officers at 43 Division, 55 Division, Traffic Services and TAVIS outfitted with three different types of body cameras.

A report released back in September revealed 58 percent of officers who took part in the project approved of the idea.

“It would add another element of having objectivity to the encounters we have with the public,” said Chief Mark Saunders.

The full cost of implementing body-worn cameras is expected to be $85-million over 10 years.

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