By fall 2022, Greater Sudbury Police officers should be wearing new body-worn cameras.
On Wednesday, the Police Services Board approved a motion to enter into an agreement with Axon Public Safety Canada Inc. to purchase/lease-to-own the CEW Taser 7 fleet and body-worn cameras (BWC) along with the Digital Evidence Management System at an estimated annual cost of $557,760 for a period of six years for a total approximate cost of $3,346,562. The funds will be drawn from the Capital Financing Reserve Fund.
GSPS is purchasing 200 Axon Body 3 cameras and 25 Docks, 200 Officer Safety Plan 7 bundles, 200 Officer Safety Plan 7 licenses, 10 pro licenses (DEMS), and 261 CEWs.
“(BWCs) are another layer of transparency and accountability,” said Police Chief Paul Pedersen. “There are a number of studies that have shown their efficiency, maybe in terms of court prosecution where it could cut down on officer testimonies when there is video evidence of any interaction. They also help with resolving any citizen complaints and getting an accurate record of what was said and what transpired.”
In June 2020, the Police Services Board was presented with the concept of introducing BWCs within the Greater Sudbury Police Service to enhance the use of technology to support police practices.
In September 2020, GSPS reviewed the results of other police services’ pilot program reports over the summer months, and provided a report to the board, which then led to a feasibility study to understand local needs.
In December 2020, the board endorsed a plan for rollout of the CEWs and BWCs in 2021.
At first, the board had approved a plan that included a capital allocation of $450,000 in each year for five years, but this plan included a limited roll out primarily to front-line direct responders.
Then, on further review, it was recommended the deployment expand so that additional units have readily available access to the systems.
The current goal is to implement BWCs in the fall of 2022, said Pedersen. There will be a transitional roll-out plan to distribute this new technology throughout the organization in stages. GSPS will also work with the Privacy Commission with respect to governance-related issues.
“Research and study is ongoing, but the plan is for every operation officer to be equipped with a body camera,” said Pedersen. “This is part of the business going forward.”