Crime Prevention Guide

POLICE ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA 33 PANS in the community Kentville Police Service By Ashley Thompson As originally published June 16/20 The Chronicle Herald Kentville police lead way for body cameras Body-worn cameras can be seen below the POLICE marking on the vests of Sgt. Michael Goss and Const. Daniel Matheson of the Kentville Police Service. The Kentville Police Service is fielding questions from fellow policing agencies wanting to know the force's take on bodyworn cameras. “The body-worn camera is a tool that we feel is essential to have for our service,” said deputy chief Marty Smith. “Body-worn cameras have allowed us to be transparent and accountable to the public, and have shown to be a very effective tool.” In 2018, the municipal police force became the first law enforcement agency in Nova Scotia to equip all of its patrolling officers with body cameras following a successful pilot project launched in 2015. “In the beginning we only had a fewmembers outfitted with body-worn cameras to see if they would be beneficial for our members and public,” said Smith. The force now has six cameras purchased from Axon in operation under the leadership of police chief Julia Cecchetto. “They provide an accurate picture of each situation for prosecutions, as well as assisting with public complaint investigations. The members have also noticed, when dealing with the public, that they're aware of the camera and (it) can help in de-escalating certain situations.” BENEFITS OUTWEIGH COSTS A bright yellow sticker on the front of the cameras states that the devices record audio and visuals. “It has also been effective when dealing with victims. We can get an accurate picture of the incident they were involved in, and capture any injuries,” said Smith. Kentville's contract for the body-worn cameras includes secure server space for storing footage. Smith points to costs and time as two of the main challenges associated with using the technology. “The cost is a challenge, but we feel the importance of having this tool outweighs the cost,” he said. “The body-worn camera's footage is used for court disclosure. This can be a time-consuming process when things have to be redacted from the footage, (for example) an innocent bystander walking by that should be removed from the video footage because they have nothing to do with the incident.” INTERNATIONAL CALLS FOR CHANGE Kentville's officers are now fielding questions frommembers of other law enforcement agencies interested in the technology. “We have had some inquiries, especially with the recent tragic events that have occurred in the U.S.,” said Smith. The death of George Floyd in May sparked an international movement calling on policing agencies to take a stand against all forms of anti-black racism and discrimination within their organizations. continued