The implementation of body-cams is at the top of the agenda, on Thursday, as execs meet during the Toronto police board’s monthly meeting.
Another report piggy backing off the findings of the 18-month pilot project between 2014 and 2015, is being presented to the board.
The September evaluation by the Toronto police service body camera evaluation team recommended the outfitting of body cameras for officers, despite the steep cost.
Police Chief Mark Saunders will likely ask the board for $500,000 to initiate the first step of the process. That step would involve the fairness commissioner overseeing and managing the request in the proposals process.
A big hurdle in the initiative is most likely going to be the cost. It’s estimated that the first year of implementation would be $20 million, based on a cost of $20,000 to outfit one officer with the gear. The full cost of implementing body-worn cameras service-wide is estimated to be about $85 million over 10-years.
The pilot project report made public in the fall, recommended the Police Service issue a non-binding request for proposals for companies to quote on a cost for cameras and information technology infrastructure.
The reports suggests outfitting frontline officers with cameras, saying that both officers and the community saw value in having the cameras and felt it would reduce inappropriate behaviour by officers and the public. The project evaluation asserts that 95 per cent of the public and 85 per cent of officers support the use of the cameras.
Even then, senior officers say the devices are not flawless, pointing to serious battery problems as well as limited practicality in use-of-force incidents.
Of the people surveyed who did have an interaction with police, whether investigated or arrested by an officer with a body-worn camera, 85% supported their use.