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Peel police chief asked to examine the use of body-worn cameras

Toronto police body camera

Peel Regional Police are moving closer to wearing body-worn cameras.

The Peel Police Services Board has asked the police chief to submit a report on equipping members of the force with the cameras.

Services Board chair Ron Chatha says he wants Chief Duraiappah to bring forth a report on operational requirements for the use of body-worn cameras, budgetary impacts and a timeline for implementation in time for the next board meeting on June 26.

Chatha says the move is in response to reactions from the community and events currently taking place in Canada and south of the border.

The issue of body-worn cameras is once again in the spotlight following the death of a Toronto woman which is currently being investigated by the province’s Special Investigations Unit.

Regis Korchinski-Paquet fell from a 24th floor balcony on May 29 while police were inside the apartment. Family members allege that police played a role in her death, however, these allegations have not been substantiated.

Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders said this is a textbook case for the use of body-worn cameras, which the force has been examining but do not currently wear.

Toronto police conducted a year-long pilot project that ended in 2016 with the recommendation to move forward on the use of body-worn cameras. But rolling it out would cost upwards of $80 million over 10 years, the force said at the time.

Saunders said he hopes to have body-worn cameras rolled out sometime in the fall of this year and, in light of the Korchinski-Paquet incident, he will be looking to expedite the process.

“The body-worn cameras is not the end-all but what it is is an added tool that can give an objective account of what occurred during those moments,” said Saunders.