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Cops consulting on body-worn cameras

DRPS reaching out to public ahead of June meeting

Durham police have launched an online survey to get public feedback on its proposed body-worn camera. A pilot project on the technology could start as early as next year.

By Graeme McNaughton/The Oshawa Express

Durham police officers may soon have cameras on them at all times, but would like to hear from you about it first.

Durham Region Police Service has launched a public consultation process for its proposed body-worn camera program.

“Our purpose is to let people know where we’re at and where we’re going with it. We’re not going to go out and sit there and say, ‘This is body-worn cameras.’ We need to seek more information about this,” says Const. Marten Wind of DRPS’ body-worn camera team.

The body-worn camera project is currently in its third phase, which includes public consultations such as online surveys. According to a report presented to the Durham Police Services Board in late 2016, the third phase of the body-worn camera program comes at a cost of $90,000.

However, should the board decide to go ahead with the program, those numbers get much higher, with the initial costs for the first year coming in at just under $24 million, followed by annual costs of approximately $17.8 million, or about nine per cent of DRPS’ current budget.

Wind says that the aim of this is to get people aware of what is going on and to have their say if they so choose.

“We want to get this out to the community, get them thinking about it,” he says.

“What we really want to do is drive them to the website, drive them to our email if they want to get a hold of us. If they have concerns or things they want clarity, let us know.”

The public survey for the body-worn camera project is currently online at drps.ca, and is available until the end of April.

In June, the police services board is set to vote on what happens with the project moving forward, which Wind says includes determining when and if a pilot project – currently slated to take place in Pickering and Ajax – would take place.

“It’s going to be more of are we going to do this pilot project, and is it going to start in June 2018 or something that gets pushed off further to 2018,” he says.