by Morinville Online Staff
Alberta is mandating body-worn cameras for all police services in the province in a move it says is to build trust between communities and the police that serve them.
The province says police officers are responding to calls that are more complex and which often require responding officers to take a “well-thought-out, multi-pronged approach” while tensions are escalating. Because split-second decisions can cause the public to raise concerns about the actions taken and whether appropriate force was used, public trust is eroded.
“Mandating police to wear body-worn cameras is a transformational decision that will ensure all interactions with officers are objective,” said Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Services Mike Ellis. “Whether living in large cities or smaller rural communities, Albertans have the right to feel safe and have trust that police will assist and be fair in doing so. Alberta will be the first province to mandate body-worn cameras as we work to position Alberta as a role model for safe, secure communities across the country and North America.”
The Government of Alberta says it is partnering with the Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police (AACP) to develop and implement the mandate.
“AACP looks forward to receiving details of the body-worn camera mandate to support transparency and further build trust within our communities and welcomes the opportunity to work together to support this,” said Alberta Association of Chiefs of POolice Vice President Dean LaGrange.
The government says that once implemented, it will be easier to review interactions with police services, which it believes will help promote accountability for all parties.
Alberta NDP Justice Critic Irfan Sabir said while the NDP Opposition support increased transparency to build trust between law enforcement and communities, Tuesday’s announcement lacked detail.
“[T]here are no timelines, no funding, and a lack of clarity regarding how the vast amount of data generated by body-worn cameras will be managed,” Sabir wrote in a media statement. “Meanwhile, there is a massive backlog of cases at ASIRT. If the UCP was serious about transparency, they would be focused on clearing this backlog so law enforcement is held accountable and Albertans have access to justice.”
Sabir went on to call Tuesday’s announcement a “desperate attempt by Danielle Smith and the UCP to look like they’re taking action on the eve of an election without any real plan.”
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