Crime Prevention Guide

POLICE ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA 35 PANS in the community Kentville Police Servicecontinued Floyd died in police custody after he was accused of using a counterfeit bill in Minnesota. During Floyd's arrest, a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on the back of his neck for nearly nine minutes. Anti-racism rallies have since been held throughout Canada in solidarity with George Floyd protests in the United States. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is pushing for more RCMP officers to be equipped with body-worn cameras that will document police interactions with the public. Trudeau's ask is still a work in progress. RCMP ROLLOUT INWORKS The RCMP'S website says Canada's national police service has roughly 18,500 police officers. “This won't happen overnight,” said RCMP spokeswoman Catherine Fortin. “Developing a project plan, identifying funding, following procurement requirements, and addressing storage and digital evidence management solutions that work across the RCMP will take time. It needs to be done right.” Mounties started using the cameras in select operational and training scenarios in 2010. “This technology isn't new to the RCMP," Fortin said. Body-worn video is only used in a limited capacity reserved for specific situations today, but the scope of the technology will be broadened. “The organization completed a feasibility study in 2015 that highlighted issues concerning camera durability, battery life and storage solutions. However, technology has advanced significantly since then,” said Fortin. “We have monitored advancements and feel that now is the time to develop a broader rollout of body-worn cameras.” The costs will be shared by contract partners from the federal to municipal levels, Fortin said. LEGAL PERSPECTIVE Wayne Mackay, a Dalhousie University law professor, sees potential benefits for both police and civilians if more officers are equipped with body cameras. “There's a lot of good things about the police having body cameras and, obviously, one of the main ones in the current context is a form of accountability for what the police do when they're in contact with people doing their job,”he said. The footage can offer a clear depiction of how officers and civilians alike behaved in the recorded interactions, Mackay said. He stressed, however, that while body-worn cameras are “better than nothing,” the technology can only function as one part of a solution to a network of complex issues. “It's one useful way but not the only, and not necessarily the best way, to have full police accountability,”Mackay said. He said additional steps should include more institutional reviews devoted to police accountability and funding boosts that allow for advanced training in de-escalating tense situations, dealing withmarginalized groups and responding to situations involving a mental health crisis. “That is part of why there's some concerns about going too much down the police camera route, is the idea that that's going to take up a lot of the funding directed to the police and, perhaps, at least some of that funding could be better placed elsewhere.” From a human rights standpoint, Mackay said some individuals dealing with the police for sensitive matters could feel the cameras result in an invasion of privacy. “They're not making that choice to be recorded.” That said, Mackay applauds the Kentville Police Service for outfitting its officers with body-worn cameras and, as a result, collecting valuable information for other law enforcement agencies in the process. “I do applaud the Kentville police for taking this on and doing it and trying it out, and seeing what the benefits are. I think that we can all benefit from further examination of both the pros and the cons of body cameras for police,” he said. “By the Kentville police taking this on, I think they're undoubtedly providing useful information that will help policy-makers in deciding whether this is something we should do more broadly.” continued