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Toronto police launching year-long body camera pilot project

Last Updated May 15, 2015 at 7:25 pm EDT

Toronto police officers will soon be recording interactions with the public while investigating or collecting information, like during carding.

As of Monday, about 100 officers in four units will be wearing body cameras as part of a year-long pilot project.

“The cameras will be turned on when a police officer responds to a call for service, when investigating an individual or any time a police officer is speaking to somebody for the purpose of collecting their information,” said Meaghan Gray, Toronto police spokeswoman.

The project is expected to cost around $500,000.

Mayor John Tory touched on the pros and cons of body cameras on Thursday.

“There’s a great deal to be said in terms of the transparency that body-worn cameras will bring,” he said. “But then there are privacy considerations both for police officers in some respects and also, of course, more importantly in a way, for members of the public.”

Police say the cameras will be turned off during casual conversations with the public.

Toronto Police Association President Mike McCormack, said he would take a wait-and-see approach before throwing the association’s support behind the cameras.

“Let’s see what the data (and) the evidence supports and if it’s a good thing that reduces our officers’ being exposed to harm, complaints, and use of force, then we’ll support it,” he said. “But there has to be a cost-benefit analysis on it.”

Toronto police also want the public’s input. They’ve mailed out thousands of surveys to residents. (see below)

They also released a Frequently Asked Questions on the issue.

For a mobile friendly version of the FAQ, click here.

Toronto police body camera survey

Body-Worn Camera FAQ

Toronto police body camera survey

Toronto police body camera survey

Toronto police body camera survey