Blue Line

RCMP to see mandated use of body cams

March 30, 2023  By John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Mar. 30, 2023, Strathmore, Alta. – The Alberta government is seeking to build more trust between police officers and the communities they serve by mandating body-worn cameras for all detachments in the province.

A release detailing the decision was distributed March 14, suggesting officers are responding to more complex calls, often requiring thought-out, multi-pronged approaches, and split-second decisions during encounters.

“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,” said Mike Ellis, minister of public safety and emergency services. “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.”

The Alberta government is partnering with the Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police (AACP) to develop the mandate and standards required to implement the use of body-worn cameras.


In addition to costs and logistics, this partnership also includes conversations with front-line officers from municipal police services as well as Indigenous police services.

According to Strathmore’s Detachment Commander, Staff Sgt. Mark Wielgosz, the cameras have the potential to influence court evidence, officer and public accountability, as well as the protection of officers and the de-escalation of situations.

“Not unlike the cameras that are already equipped in our police vehicles and microphones that our members currently wear, it’s the best way to have an independent point of view, as far as the best evidence to be collected when our members are attending calls for service,” he said. “For criminal matters and reproducing our members’ observations, when it comes time for court, it’s certainly very helpful when we’re able to present that independent point of view to the courts when it comes to deciding factors on criminal matters.”

Recordings will serve as concrete evidence of interactions between officers and the public, be it for criminal matters, or more routine stops.

Wielgosz added be believes being on record will help the RCMP to be more transparent, as well as to influence both their, and the public’s behaviour, as they will be on record.

“It’s another way that we can be transparent with members of the public as well as making sure that we’re able to resolve public concerns. Also, there is a level of accountability when it does come to our members as well,” he said. “Even with the car video systems, personally, I’ve had experiences where I’ve reminded a person that they’re being recorded in the backseat of a police car, and I’ve seen immediate changes in their behavior.”

It was not detailed in the province’s release exactly when the cameras would be rolled out an in effect, nor which municipalities would be the first to see them.

Wielgosz described that to his knowledge, Grande Prairie, St. Paul, and Parkland are expected to begin implementing the cameras for field testing May 1. The rest of the province may begin to see their use as early as next year.

– Strathmore Times

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