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Body Worn Cameras - Frequently Asked Questions

Body Worn Cameras were mandated by the provincial government in March 2023. Prior to rolling out cameras service-wide, the Edmonton Police Service (EPS) is conducting a trial with select officers.

Learn more about what this means for officers and the public by viewing the Frequently Asked Questions below.

Why is EPS doing a trial?

The trial will allow EPS to assess the operational impacts of the cameras and to help identify gaps and improvements that must be made before scaling Body Worn Cameras to more officers. How and when cameras are used, the management of video data and how the video data is accessed.

Who will be wearing Body Worn Cameras?
Officers working within Healthy Streets Operations Centre (HSOC), Transit and Community Safety (TRACS), and the High-Risk Encampment Team (HRET) will be wearing Body Worn Cameras.
What technology will be used?
EPS will be testing various technologies to determine what capabilities are required to meet the Service's needs. The EPS will then go through an RFP process to determine which technology it will proceed with.
What training will the officers undergo before the trial launches?
The officers will undergo in-person training that covers organizational policy, the theory behind body-worn cameras, and technical training about how to operate the cameras.
Didn’t you already pilot body-worn cameras?

The Edmonton Police Service ran a body worn camera pilot project from October 2011 through December 2014 to assess its value and capabilities.

At that time, the pilot project indicated there were several concerns with the technology and data management. Since then, the technology has improved and it is now better suited to operational and investigative needs.

Will you still be piloting in-car video?
In 2022, the Edmonton Police Service piloted in car video to evaluate and decide on the best platform and technology for EPS. This has been put on hold as our resources have pivoted to body worn cameras.
When will the recording begin and end?
A police officer will begin recording when they start a public interaction such as when they start an investigation or enforcement interaction; or when they are asking a person questions for the purpose of collecting their information. The camera will be turned off at the conclusion of their interaction with the public or when the officer determines that continuous recording is no longer serving its intended purpose (i.e. when an officer is writing their reports).
How will I know if a body worn camera is “on” during my encounter with a member of the Edmonton Police Service?
Officers who have been issued body worn cameras will have the device in plain view.  The camera also has a light which indicates that it has been activated. Although not legally required, officers are trained to give notice as soon as reasonably possible that a body worn camera is in operation. The timing of this notice may vary depending on the context of the encounter.
Where will the body worn camera data be stored, how long will it be stored for and how will the footage be downloaded?
At the end of every shift, the members dock their cameras and footage will be automatically uploaded.  A retention schedule that applies to police records will be applied to the storage of this data, depending on the nature of the interactions (ex. if footage is captured during a criminal investigation versus a bylaw investigation).
Who will be able to access the camera footage and who is permitted to look at it?
Rules surrounding the access of body worn camera footage have been defined all of which is auditable. Access will be based on the applicable legislative rules (ex. FIOPP, HSA, CC, YCJA).
Will Body Worn Cameras be used for Facial Recognition?
There is no facial recognition technology built into the cameras, but footage may be used in conjunction with other facial recognition technology that EPS currently uses here.
What happens if an officer does not turn their camera on or does not follow procedures? What are the consequences?

Like any other allegation of misconduct, complaints can be made to the Professional Standards Branch. Depending on the outcome of the investigation, officers could face any number of disciplinary actions dependent on the nature of the allegations and the reasons why the breach of policy occurred.

We know that only proper use of body-worn cameras will enhance public trust and legitimacy while improper use will have the opposite, detrimental effect on police/community relations.

How do the police manage a request to turn off the body worn camera?
When using a body worn camera, officers will weigh the law enforcement objective against privacy concerns and take reasonable steps to mitigate the impact on the individual’s privacy.
What provisions will exist to vet/edit any recording prior to disclosure in court?
The Crown is provided the raw footage and they make the decision on what to edit based on the charges.
Is there a policy or procedure that governs how officers use the body-worn camera?
Yes, a draft policy provides officers with operational direction that includes but is not limited to recording in private and public places; retention and security of videos; and responsibilities for members and supervisors. This policy will evolve throughout the trial.