Truro becomes 2nd jurisdiction in N.S. to use police body cameras

·2 min read
Const. Brent Bowden of the Truro police wearing a body camera. (Paul Palmater/CBC - image credit)
Const. Brent Bowden of the Truro police wearing a body camera. (Paul Palmater/CBC - image credit)

Police officers in Truro will now be wearing body cameras, making them only the second police service in Nova Scotia to do so.

Police Chief Dave MacNeil said after a four-month trial in late 2020, the devices were approved by the police commission and the cameras were included in the April budget.

Receiving the cameras and getting them up and running took some time, he said, but they are now fully operational.

MacNeil said the cameras are another step in making the police service more accountable, transparent and open to the public.

"It puts the public's mind at ease that they are being videoed and it puts the officer's mind at ease also," MacNeil said.

Paul Palmeter/CBC
Paul Palmeter/CBC

According to MacNeil, video from the cameras can be used at trial which enhances the ability of the police to collect evidence.

The cameras will be turned on during interactions with the public, MacNeil said, and will be turned off when not needed or in situations such as hospital settings.

He said police will inform people if they are being taped "when practicable."

Paul Palmeter/CBC
Paul Palmeter/CBC

Const. Brent Bowden, who has been using the cameras, said the number of times the camera is activated will depend on how busy a day the officer is having.

"Every officer is getting assigned a body camera when they're on duty and at the end of their duty, they would turn it in and another officer would take over," Bowden said.

Kentville was the first police service in Nova Scotia to equip all of its officers with body cameras in 2018.

Halifax Regional Police, the largest police service in the province, said it would like to use body cameras but council has yet to approve the funds to buy them.

The RCMP has indicated it will roll out a two-year plan to provide an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 body cameras to officers across the country starting later this year.

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