Fredericton police officers testing body cameras
Six Fredericton police officers will wear the small, lightweight body cameras for the next three months as part of a pilot program.
Published Friday, March 24, 2017 6:03PM ADT
The Fredericton Police are among the first in the Atlantic region to test drive 'body cameras' for their officers. It's a growing trend among police forces in the USA and more Maritime services may soon follow suit.
Fredericton officers say they are excited to wear the tiny devices that could make the difference in a "he said, she said" situation.
"As most people know, people don't usually like getting tickets, so it's a way to help de-escalate the situation by them knowing that they're being recorded," says Constable Patrick Small, a traffic safety officer in Fredericton.
Six Fredericton police officers will wear the lightweight body cameras for the next three months as part of a pilot program.
The force hopes the cameras will mean better behaviour among officers, assist in investigations and provide evidence. The officer gets to decide when to turn it on and off, but they do have to tell a citizen when they're being recorded.
"If we knew that the public trusted us 100 per cent and you don't need this, and that's what comes out in 90 days, then why spend the money right? But we're probably not there because it is what it is, but we always want to be building public trust," explains Deputy Chief Martin Gaudent of Fredericton Police.
The Rothesay police force, now known as the Kennebacasis Police, started using body cameras in February of 2014. Just days later, an officer in that force shot and killed a man. The officer was later cleared after the footage showed he was trying to stop the man from attacking another officer.
"When we're out there, there's a lot of stuff that's going on and it's nice to have our own camera capturing, whereas a lot of times there's other people that usually capture only part of what's happening," says Constable Small.
Police forces in Saint John and Halifax aren't using body cameras yet.
Halifax police told CTV News they are waiting on the Toronto Police to finish their pilot program before making a decision.
RCMP across Canada are postponing the use of body cameras until the technology can catch up with their needs.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Laura Brown.