First phase of body worn cameras complete – Clarington and Whitby next up in rollout


Published December 14, 2021 at 10:47 am

Police Body worn cameras are coming to Clarington, Whitby and Oshawa in 2022.

With the first phase of rollout complete in Ajax, Pickering and the north, Durham Region Police are taking their body-worn camera (BWC) project on the road to Whitby and Clarington with a final stop in Oshawa.

Following a pilot project that ran from June 2018 to July 2019, the body-worn camera expansion was approved by the Durham Police Board, the civilian committee that oversees DRPS, in September 2020. The following February the Board earmarked $4.4 million in funding over the next five years.

Almost half of that, $2.03 million, was set aside in the 2021 budget to fund the cameras themselves, technology to store the collected footage, staff to run the back end, and training for the officers set to wear the cameras.

That training teaches officers the use of the BWC. Officers wear the camera in the centre of their chest and when interacting with the public, the officer presses a large button on the camera for a moment until a shrill beep is heard to indicate recording has begun. Officer are trained to advise residents they are being recorded.

DRPS community and traffic officers began using the cameras in Ajax, north Durham and Pickering in September 2021.

Detective Sergeant Chris Ludlow, in a video released Monday, said the project is an “effort to increase transparency and accountability within the community, as well as improve evidence collection.”

Ludlow said DRPS has 188 cameras active in the field and are being used at the Festive RIDE program stops. Ludlow’s update includes an example to BWC footage collected at the stop.

In the video, a woman rolls up to the RIDE stop location. Looking above the chest worn camera, she is instructed to pull off the road where the officer asks her to perform a breathalyzer test. The driver blows a zero and is released.

The Clarington, Whitby and Oshawa rollout will begin in early 2022. A full overview of the Project can be found at the police board.

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