Body Worn Camera Pilot Project
Today the Medicine Hat Police Service (MHPS) launched a six month long Body Worn Camera (BWC) Pilot Project. The goal of the BWC Pilot Project will be to assess the utility, value and impact of BWC. At the conclusion of the project, the MHPS will review the findings and assess the potential for BWC to:
- Enhance the collection of evidence;
- Enhance transparency, public trust and confidence;
- Enhance officer accountability and professionalism;
- Protect officers from unfounded allegations of misconduct; and
- De-escalate volatile situations.
The BWC pilot project will involve the deployment of six body worn cameras and two dash mounted in car cameras involving selected officers assigned to the Patrol Section and Traffic Unit.
Before launching the project, the MHPS has strongly considered privacy issues to ensure that the BWC Project is within the bounds of Privacy Legislation. We have closely followed the “Guidance for the Use of Body-Worn Cameras by Law Enforcement Authorities, (Guide)” developed and endorsed by the Privacy Commissioners across Canada and published in June, 2016.
Balancing privacy issues, storage capacity and the fact that not every situation merits the collection of video, the cameras will not be on all the time. The MHPS has developed policy, which outlines when the cameras are to be activated as officers respond to calls or attend incidents requiring investigation. Recording will be at the discretion of the officer and the officer must be able to articulate why they did or did not turn the camera on.
“In our current strategic plan, the MHPS committed to exploring the use of video as a means of enhancing officer safety, increasing public transparency and accountability to the community,” says Chief Andy McGrogan. “However it was important that we did not rush to implement in response to current events or trends, without careful consideration and planning. We are optimistic that this project will provide us with the necessary information required to determine the merits of service wide deployment.”
There are no capital costs associated with the BWC Pilot Project, as the MHPS has partnered with Axon Public Safety Canada, who have provided the equipment and training. However, a key finding of the project will to be determine and assess the long-term costs associated with the MHPS adopting a service wide rollout of the BWC program.
“The ability for us to work with a police service as open to innovation and partnerships as the Medicine Hat Police Service is extremely exciting,” says Axon's Managing Director for Canada & Latin America, Vishal Dhir. “This pilot is a great opportunity for the MHPS to explore leading edge technology and to evaluate their policies and procedures in real world situations without any financial risk.”
MEDIA AVAILABILITY: MHPS Insp West and S/Sgt Chad Holt, and AXON Managing Director, Vishal Dhir, will be available between 1:00 PM and 1:30 PM in the MHPS Community Boardroom for on camera interviews.
Operational Services Division
Medicine Hat Police Service
Background Information About Axon
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