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PASSIFIUME: No easy roll-out for police body cameras

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With police use-of-force policies at the forefront of national debate, Toronto Mayor John Tory earlier this month promised to fast-track plans to equip city officers with body-worn cameras (BWC.)

But as I found out during my years covering cops and crime in Calgary, it’s no easy road for any police department.

Calgary, which launched their BWC trials in 2012 — two years before Toronto — became Canada’s first police service in April 2019 to fully equip its front-line officers with 1,150 of the units.

While the program has every indication of being a great success, it came close to being derailed numerous times thanks to technical issues, vendor problems and even lawsuits.

“There’s a significant amount of policy that goes into them,” said John Orr, a 20-year veteran of the Calgary Police Service and current president of the city’s police association.

“There was significant planning ahead of the roll out.”

Calgary Police Service Staff Sgt. Travis Baker wears and holds the service’s new Axon body camera on July 3, 2018. Gavin Young / Calgary Sun/Postmedia Network

Canada’s third-largest police service, Calgary police’s BWC program suffered from a number of stutter-starts.


© Edmonton Sun

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