Fredericton police implementing body cameras
Published Tuesday, April 10, 2018 10:21PM ADT
A three-month pilot project using police body cameras is about to become permanent in Fredericton, N.B.
Fredericton police say the introduction of more body camera technology will bring more accountability for both them and the public.
While the Fredericton police chief says the technology will allow for more transparency, some departments are expressing concerns about privacy and cost.
“It seems like everybody else has a camera, video, or phone except for the officers who are there, involved in sometimes very serious interactions,” says Chief Leanne Fitch.
The five-year agreement worth $115,000 will buy six body cameras, along with new recording equipment for interviews.
“Our evidence will be stored in the cloud in a secure location, and there will be restricted access on how that information is retrieved, how our officers will download it, provide it to the crown, provide it to the defence for disclosure purposes,” says Chief Fitch.
Police working on the traffic beat will be the first to be equipped with the recording technology.
“It’s really nice to have that camera there, to sometimes capture evidence that can be used in court… other times it captured utterances that people made at the roadside,” says Constable Patrick Small.
The recordings will be kept on file for up to year and a half or longer if it is related to an investigation. The public will be told beforehand if they're about to be recorded.
STU Criminology Professor Michael Boudreau says people should be slightly concerned because they will be taped.
“Their interaction with the police will be recorded, and anything they say or do may end up used against them proverbially, so they have to be a little concerned about that,” says Boudreau. “In other cases the police don't see them as helping them in anyway in terms of apprehending criminals or providing any better evidence to the crown.”
The Halifax Regional Police backed away from the body camera trial run that would've cost $1.4 million a year.
Chief Fitch of the Fredericton police could not provide an exact timeline for when the new body cameras will arrive.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Nick Moore.