Guelph/Eramosa set to approve body camera for its bylaw officer
June 21, 2021 By Canadian Press
Council discussed the proposal, brought forward by the bylaw officer, at a recent committee of the whole meeting. They are set to give the initiative final approval on Monday.
“We haven’t had any major incidents or anything,” Mayor Chris White told GuelphToday. “But going forward, we think it’s a nice way to protect our staff, it’s a way to get a proper record of what’s occurring, and it’s good for the residents as well.”
While “nine out of 10 people” the bylaw department deals with “are wonderful,” occasionally “there’s a little more aggressiveness in some situations,” White said.
In particular, he said during the pandemic some people have become confrontational over COVID restrictions like masking.
At last Wednesday’s committee of the whole meeting, bylaw officer Ivan Lunevski told councillors body cameras are becoming more and more popular with police services and bylaw agencies across the county.
“The number one reason is to increase accountability and transparency,” Lunevski said.
Centre Wellington and Erin are also looking into body cameras, he said.
According to Guelph/Eramosa’s proposed body camera policy, bylaw officers would be required to activate their cameras during interactions with the public and inform them that they are being recorded at the earliest possible opportunity.
The estimated cost of hardware and software for the body camera is $6,973 to be paid for through a grant, Lunevski said in the report.
Council gave the body camera policy tentative approval in a unanimous vote on Wednesday.
“I think this a good thing,” Coun. Corey Woods said. “It provides evidence. It provides a whole bunch of things that I think would be good for the municipality, people may not like them but I think it helps keep people honest.”
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