‘A different perspective’: Saskatoon police to roll out body cameras

Some police officers in Saskatoon will soon be equipped with body cameras while on duty to capture incidents from their own perspectives.

Saskatoon Police Service (SPS) has 40 body cameras, the Axon Body 3 and 10 that will be used per shift when an officer is conducting an investigation and enforcement.

The cameras will mainly be distributed to patrol officers.

“What we do expect to see is that we’ll be able to have a different perspective of what’s occurred,” SPS Chief Troy Cooper said during a body camera demonstration on Tuesday.

Cooper said body cameras will add “valuable perspective” into an officer’s interaction with the public.

The body cameras have unlimited storage and built-in microphones that will also capture audio.

They will only be worn by fully uniformed officers and the public will be made aware when an officer is recording.

Sgt. Tom Gresty says SPS has followed in the footsteps of other police services such as those in Calgary and Toronto in developing the two-year pilot program and related policies.

Officers are responsible for activating and ending a recording.

“Policy states very clearly that we will record an incident in its entirety, in keeping in mind the goal of transparency and accountability,” Gresty said.

Gresty says the recordings will be stored on a hard drive on the camera and officers can have access to view afterwards, but will not have the ability to delete or edit the footage.

Footage will be held for a minimum of 25 months and will be destroyed unless it’s part of an ongoing investigation.

Cooper says some of the benefits of having a digital record of interactions include court reductions and reduced times for officer investigations.

Officers are being trained this week and the body cameras are expected to make their official debut on the streets in two to three weeks.

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