Toronto police say starting this week, officers in the city’s 31 Division will begin using body-worn camera technology during interactions with the public.
Body-worn cameras will be used when an officer arrives at a call for service, begins an investigation, or when asking someone questions for the purpose of collecting information, Toronto police said.
The service said before deployment every officer will be trained on how to use the cameras and the associated governance, which includes penalties for non-compliance.
The city’s 31 Division borders Steeles Avenue to the north, Lawrence Avenue to the south, following the Humber River to the west (near Weston Road) to just east of Keele Street.
Toronto police received approval from the Toronto Police Services Board on Aug. 18 to move forward with the delivery of the body-worn camera program.
In consultation with the province, the Ontario Human Rights Commission, the SIU, and the office of the Independent Police Review Director, a program was developed that considers privacy security and disclosure of responsibilities.
“Body-worn cameras are one tool we can use to create trust and legitimacy between officers and the public as we look for ways to modernize policing services,” said Toronto police chief Chief James Ramer.
“This technology provides an independent, bias-free account of our interactions and reinforces our commitment to show communities they can feel safe and secure to enjoy their daily lives with the police,” Ramer said.
Last week, Peel Regional Police said their officers from the Airport Division began using body-worn cameras on Nov. 23.
Peel police said the cameras will have live-stream technology, which allows for the opportunity of medical professionals to help officers in real-time situations involving persons in crisis.
Both Peel and Toronto signed a deal with Axon Canada Inc., a worldwide industry leader in providing Body Worn Camera and Digital Evidence Management Solutions for public safety agencies.
Toronto police said it recently signed a five-year deal with Axon for $34 million, which includes 2,350 cameras and cloud-based storage.
— With files from Jessica Patton and The Canadian Press.
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