Body worn cameras (BWC) and in-car cameras, also known as dash cameras, are two of many technical tools accessible to police agencies across the world. In 2022, the Edmonton Police Service began piloting in-car cameras with a limited number of police vehicles.
BWCs were mandated by the provincial government in March 2023. Prior to rolling out cameras service-wide, the Edmonton Police Service (EPS) will conduct a 6-month trial with select officers.
2023 BODY WORN CAMERA TRIAL
Officers working within transit, HSOC – Community Safety Teams and the High Risk Encampment Team will be carrying a camera approximately the size of a pack of cards on the front of their uniform. The officers turn the camera on and off to record audio and video during public interactions.
These cameras have a light that visibly indicates it is recording. However, officers can disable this when required for officer safety (for example, if the light would give away their location at a nighttime incident involving a person with a firearm).
Officers are expected to use these cameras whenever they have an interaction with the public, and especially when:
- An arrest or detention is likely or happening
- The use-of-force is possible
- They are having an investigative contact with the public
- A legal demand is being made
- A charge is being laid
For more information on the trial and how BWC technology works, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions page.
The EPS will be submitting a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) to the Privacy Commissioner of Alberta. Section 33C and 33B of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act authorizes the collection of information from the public.
Legally, officers are not required to inform the public they are being recorded during an interaction, but they are trained to do so when they can.
EFFECTIVENESS OF THE CAMERAS
Evaluations of BWCs have found evidence that the technologies help create a more efficient accountability process and reduce incidents where force is used.
The goals of BWCs include:
- Enhance transparency, public trust and confidence
- Enhance officer accountability and professionalism
- Provide real-life training examples
- Aid in de-escalating the behavior of individuals who are aware of the recording in progress situations which in turn reduces incidences of the use-of-force by and against the police
- Protect officers from unfounded allegations of misconduct and increase the efficiency of the resolution of complaints against the police
- Improve evidence collection, documentation, early case resolution and successful prosecutions.