WRPS looking into possibility of body-worn cameras for officers
KITCHENER -- Body cameras were among a number of topics discussed at the Waterloo Regional Police Services board meeting on Wednesday.
Police Chief Bryan Larkin started by providing an update on how the service is exploring the body-worn devices for the officers.
The measure was discussed at the last meeting in June as part of the service's "Path Forward."
In his update at the virtual meeting, Larkin highlighted that using the cameras would require extensive infrastructure planning, as well as secure digital evidence management systems and training.
It's also expensive.
Larkin said the WRPS is looking into getting funding and support at the provincial level.
He said the service has identified itself as one that would be willing to take part in a potential pilot project.
"I don't think that we should rush into this. It should be a very strategic approach, a very staged approach, but we also should not consider doing it independently," Larkin said during the meeting.
"My commitment to the board is that I continue to advocate provincially for support through grants and procurement to look at this as a province-wide opportunity of innovation in technologies."
Larkin said the police services board will get an update on the cameras at the September meeting, promising more details on the potential costs that would be associated with them.
It's worth noting that the groups that have called for the defunding of police are not calling for officers to wear body cameras, but for a minimum 10 per cent reduction in funding.
Waterloo Region's is not the first police service in Ontario to consider the use of body-worn cameras.
Late last month, Toronto city council voted for them to be used by the Toronto Police Service.
According to an article from The Canadian Press published at the start of July, studies show no consistent evidence that body cameras reduce police violence.