Alberta police services are now mandated to wear body cameras by the provincial government.
“Mandating police to wear body-worn cameras is a transformational decision that will ensure all interactions with officers are objective. 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,” said Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Services Mike Ellis.
“Alberta is undergoing a paradigm shift of policing across the province, where police transition from the strong arm of the state to an extension of the community they serve,” a government of Alberta press release said. “The most effective way for police to become an extension of the community they serve is by building trust and relationships with the public.”
In a partnership with the Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police (AACP), the provincial government has developed standards to implement the body-worn cameras, costs, and logistics.
The work done includes discussions with Alberta police officers, municipal police services, and self-administered Indigenous police services.
“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 Dean LaGrange, vice president of the Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police.
The program will capture split-second decisions made by police members and is expected to ease potential public concerns.
The cameras will have a microphone, and storage for video footage, making it easier to review interactions, and ensure transparency between police and the public.
“The most effective way to keep Albertans safe and secure in their communities is to build relationships and trust with the police that serves them,” the release said.