MEDICINE HAT, AB — Police forces across Canada are investing in body worn cameras as a better way to protect their officers and the public.
The Medicine Hat Police Service announced on Monday they too are testing out the technology as part of a pilot project.
“Certainly when there’s the potential to gather any evidence, they’ll be wearing it,” said Inspector Joe West. “When they’re attending a call for service, where they’re called to go there, they will turn the cameras on.”
The cameras will act as another set of eyes and ears while officers are on call.
“If an officer suspects that they’re following a possible impaired driver or they’re attending a violent situation with a stand off or an armed person, they know going to that, this is going to be a very volatile situation, there might be some evidence to captured,” said S/Sgt. Chad Holt.
“We may go to an incident that’s already in progress and we’re capturing the evidence as it happens and to capture video evidence while on a call like that would just be great for the crown and great evidence to show in court,” West added.
The cameras are worn on the outside of the uniform and capture anything happening in front of the officer wearing them, but they won’t always be recording.
West said members of the public will be told if they’re being recorded.
He said it’s up to the officer to turn the cameras on and off and justify why they do or don’t.
“An officer attends may different instances throughout the day,” West said. “Some they write vigorous notes on and others they don’t and I think the same sort of principal will apply with body worn video.”
The service is trying out the technology as part of a six month pilot project. Axon Public Safety Canada has provided the equipment and training at no cost to the service. They are also helping to store the video data in an online cloud service.
Four patrol members will be equipped with the cameras and two others will be mounted inside two police vehicles.
Over the next six months, the officers will provide feedback about the technology to say what works and what doesn’t.
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