Body cameras for Winnipeg police officers: no clarity on implementation

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Body cameras for Winnipeg police officers: no clarity on implementation

The City of Winnipeg estimates that it would cost $7 million to acquire the entire technology and $4 million to maintain it.

Winnipeg Police Commission Chairman Markus Chambers says equipping police officers in the city with cameras may happen at some point in the future, although there are no plans to purchase this technology in the future. immediate.

So it's something we're considering, it's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when, because we let's use technology more efficiently, Chambers told CBC Friday.

Body cameras fit perfectly as part of digital evidence management, he adds.

Winnipeg police have been asking for these cameras for many years, but the City estimates that it takes $7 million to acquire the entire technology including 1,300 cameras and $4 million for maintenance.

In June 2021, City Council rejected a proposal to increase the Winnipeg Police Service's budget for the purchase of cameras.

Separately, a motion made by then-Councillor Kevin Klein in 2020 to purchase body cameras was also defeated by a City committee.

La This may change, however, as the Police Department plans to increase the use of digital evidence collection, says Markus Chambers.

The installation of cameras would enhance police officer accountability and keep a true and full account of police interactions with the public, says a June 2021 Police Commission report.

According to University of Winnipeg criminology expert Michael Weinrath, some research has not shown that cameras necessarily reduce the use of force.

Some initial research was very promising – there was less use of force by police, there were fewer complaints from the public, notes Michael Weinrath,

But some of the most recent research shows no effect. There is even a study that shows an increase in complaints of use of force.

In 2015, a pilot project was launched to study the use of body cameras at Winnipeg, but the project was dropped a year later due to budgetary difficulties.

The purchase of cameras for the Winnipeg Police Department was later deferred to the process 2024 budget.

In an email, a Winnipeg police spokesperson said Chief Danny Smyth continues to support this technology.

Elsewhere in the United States and Canada, police police use body cameras, but their arrival in Manitoba has been slow.

Police in Altona, a community 100 km southwest of Winnipeg, have begun to use body cameras in 2021. The police department in this small town in the south of the province uses chest-worn cell phone cameras.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police ( RCMP) is testing the cameras in Nova Scotia, Alberta and Nunavut, before rolling out nationally over the next 12 to 18 months.

The issue of use of body cameras took on a new dimension after Memphis police officers were charged in the death of Tyre Nichols.

With the s information from Cameron MacLean