Pilot project will see St. Thomas police wearing body cameras
An officer shows off one of the lapel-mounted body cameras that members of the Toronto Police Service will wear as part of a pilot project during a press conference on Friday, May 15, 2015.
MIDDLESEX CENTRE, ONT. -- The St. Thomas Police Services Board decided Wednesday to go ahead with a pilot project that will see officers don body-worn cameras as part of their uniforms.
Board Chair Dave Warden said in a statement, “The St. Thomas Police Services Board supports building public trust, community support and enhancing officer safety and public safety. This is an example of our clear commitment to ensuring we have an accountable police service to those who they serve.”
But there remain a lot of questions as the pilot begins, including; how many cameras are needed, data storage and file management requirements and overall costs. The board says these will be analyzed as information is gathered during the pilot.
Police Chief Chris Herridge added that he looks forward to moving ahead with the project as soon as possible.
“Body worn cameras will undoubtedly assist with improving the high-quality public service expected of police officers and enhance police accountability while at the same time increasing public trust...in my opinion, body worn cameras will only boost our ability to improve the overall well-being of St. Thomas.”
The force will partner with Axon Public Safety Canada Inc. to provide the cameras. The company already provides St. Thomas' officers with Tasers.
There has been an increase in calls for police to wear body cameras, especially from Black Lives Matter representatives, following the deaths of a number of Black men at the hands of police, beginning with the death of George Floyd.
The Black Lives Matter London organization made the same request just days after a rally that drew an estimated 10,000 to Victoria Park.
Both London Mayor Ed Holder and London police Chief Steve Williams have said they are open to the idea of body cameras, though Williams says they can come with a high price tag.