RCMP plans to have all ve­hi­cles equipped with dash cams by 2019

Saskatoon StarPhoenix - - CITY+REGION - ALEX MACPHER­SON amacpher­son@post­media.com twit­ter.com/macpher­sona

The Saskatchewan RCMP are spend­ing about $4.5 mil­lion on 85 com­puter servers and 500 dash­board cam­eras to be in­stalled in all cruis­ers in the com­ing months.

The na­tional po­lice force’s F Divi­sion made the an­nounce­ment Tues­day, three months af­ter a court de­ci­sion re­vealed it broke ranks with 11 other di­vi­sions across Canada by aban­don­ing its old in-car cam­eras be­fore a new video record­ing sys­tem was fully op­er­a­tional.

“Fol­low­ing a suc­cess­ful pi­lot project that con­cluded on Aug. 31, 2017, Saskatchewan RCMP is mov­ing for­ward with full im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Watch­guard In-Car Dig­i­tal Video Sys­tem,” F Divi­sion said Tues­day in a state­ment.

“The three pi­lot lo­ca­tions (White Butte, Southey and Saska­toon) have since been joined by 23 other de­tach­ments for a to­tal of 26 lo­ca­tions that are now op­er­a­tional with video be­ing recorded in ve­hi­cles.”

While all RCMP ve­hi­cles at the three pi­lot lo­ca­tions have func­tion­ing in-car cam­eras, in­stal­la­tion is lag­ging be­hind server in­stal­la­tion at its other lo­ca­tions and not all cruis­ers are fully-equipped, the state­ment noted.

The divi­sion said it ex­pects the next four de­tach­ments’ servers to come on­line by the end of Novem­ber, and an ad­di­tional 30 to be op­er­a­tional next year. The re­main­ing 25 de­tach­ments should be run­ning be­fore the end of 2019, ac­cord­ing to the state­ment.

“We will con­tinue to seek op­por­tu­ni­ties to speed this process up as fund­ing and equip­ment be­come avail­able,” it added.

The divi­sion will not pro­vide up­dates or in­for­ma­tion on spe­cific de­tach­ments “for se­cu­rity rea­sons,” the state­ment said.

F Divi­sion pre­vi­ously de­fended its de­ci­sion to pri­or­i­tize the pur­chase of C7 car­bines and body ar­mour rather than com­mit its “scarce re­sources” to main­tain­ing its ex­ist­ing fleet of about 60 in-car cam­eras.

“We de­cided to in­vest in new technology and I don’t know if it would have been a good use of pub­lic funds to con­tinue to try and prop up an old technology that you couldn’t get parts for any­more,” RCMP Su­per­in­ten­dent Kris Vibe said in Au­gust.

Two prom­i­nent de­fence lawyers crit­i­cized the force’s lack of in-car cam­eras, ar­gu­ing video footage not only pro­tects ci­ti­zens from po­ten­tial abuses of po­lice power, but also shields of­fi­cers from friv­o­lous com­plaints about their con­duct.

The RCMP be­gan us­ing dash cams in the early 1990s and started look­ing for new sys­tems in 2013. Eight di­vi­sions, in­clud­ing F Divi­sion, ini­tially de­cided to spend $3.4 mil­lion on new cam­eras and servers with the aim of cre­at­ing an in­te­grated video data­base.

It emerged in July that F Divi­sion, which had al­ready de­cided to stop main­tain­ing its ex­ist­ing cam­eras, could not use $2 mil­lion worth of new dash­cams be­cause it had not yet de­vel­oped a pol­icy on how the re­sult­ing footage would be stored.

At the time, Saskatchewan, P.E.I. and Nu­navut were the only RCMP di­vi­sions with­out fully func­tion­ing dash­cams.


All RCMP ve­hi­cles at the three pi­lot lo­ca­tions have func­tion­ing in-car cam­eras, an F Divi­sion state­ment said.

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