Staring Tuesday, the OPP will train officers of the Haldimand Detachment, the OPP West Region Emergency Response Team (ERT), and West Region Traffic Incident Management Enforcement (TIME) team with body-worn cameras.
In a media release, they say the study will help inform broader OPP implementation of new technologies in the future. OPP officers participating in the evaluative study will have the body-worn camera in plain view, and the camera has lights and indicators showing it has been activated.
Derek Rogers is the media relations coordinator with OPP West Region and said this is just another tool in the tool box, and it is something to really look into. "We are certainly looking at how effective they will be. We are going to put them into play and see what we can learn from having them out in the field."
Officers are trained to give notice as soon as reasonably possible that a body-worn camera is in operation. OPP officers participating in the study will turn on the body-worn camera prior to arriving at a call for service; at the earliest opportunity, prior to any contact with a member of the public, and where that contact is for an investigative or enforcement purpose. The body-worn camera will be turned off when the call for service or investigation is complete.
Rogers add there is a privacy concern as well. Therefore officers will not turn on their camera in case sensitive situations. "We have been in consultation with the privacy commissioner of Ontario in situations where you would have a domestic dispute or a sexual assault case, the cameras will not be used. This is an addition to the investigative tools we have." Adding, officers will need to continue their note taking as part of the their mandate when responding to calls.
Rogers says while the videos will not be for public knowledge, if there is a public safety concern or an investigative reason to release the video "that will be something under consideration"
The study is expected to last one year, and based on the evaluation OPP West Division will determine if they will go forward with a wider adoption.