- The Saint John Police Force claims that all front-line officers will be wearing body cameras by the end of July, two years after the department initially announced their coming.
- Officers who wear the device will do so for the whole of their shift, but they will not be recording the entire time, according to LeBlanc.
The Saint John Police Force says that all front-line officers will be wearing body cameras by the end of July, two years after the agency first announced the gadgets’ arrival.
The police have 62 Axon Body 3 cameras on hand, costing around $770,000 when purchased with the software.
The deployment, according to Inspector Tanya LeBlanc, began this week.
“Each shift has two trainers who Axon Public Safety Inc. professionals trained,” she explains.
“We developed the policy, the members were trained on the policy, and the remainder of our members will be rolled out in stages.”
She believes the force will have all of the units it requires, eliminating the need for additional purchases as the rollout progresses.
Officers that wear the gadget will do so for the whole of their shift, but according to LeBlanc, they will not be recording the entire time.
“The body-worn camera switches on automatically in specific scenarios,” she explains.
“When police activate their lights and sirens, the cameras also activate.” When an officer takes their taser out of their holster, the body-worn cameras also activate.”
In other cases, cops must manually switch on the devices and turn them off at their discretion.
Officers are unable to review footage in the field because of the gadgets.
According to LeBlanc, they must return to the station via a secure platform.
She claims that the average officer will not be able to change or remove anything that has been recorded.
The devices, as well as the policy that goes with them, were presented to the city’s Board of Police Commissioners on Tuesday, although they’ve been in the works since the programs were first announced in July of 2020.
It was a moment when demands for strict police accountability were at an all-time high.
“As we went through the Black Lives Matter movement, there was an uproar from the community,” says Joanna Killen, a city councilor who sits on the board.
At that meeting in Saint John, Killen was present, although she was not yet a councilor.
She even openly fought with her predecessor over her desire to start a discussion about police defunding.
Killen claims that the cost of the bodycams is acceptable in exchange for the accountability they may give.
“Cost is a big deal,” she explains.
“However, it is justified at the level I observe, based on community uproar.”
Killen was pleased to learn that video evidence obtained through the cameras could save victims or witnesses from appearing in court later — depending on the value of the video and/or audio captured as evidence.
That’s something LeBlanc believes is crucial.
“Having to testify in court may be pretty traumatic,” she says, “especially if you’ve been a victim of crime.”
Source: Global News
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