Body Worn Video Steering Group
“Everybody’s memory is faulty,” says Angus Lee, a Vancouver based lawyer. “Nobody has a perfect memory, no one has a memory that can compare to a body camera”. This is why he is campaigning for a minimum of 246,372 signatures from registered voters to bring the initiative to require body-worn video cameras on cops to the ballot.
“There is no justification in 2015 to not have the ability to record these critical incidents that are later mischaracterized by one side or the other,” Lee said.
“What’s controversial is, anyone would help oppose something that’s so helpful to our society,” Lee said.
Vancouver Police Chief James McElvain said nobody in the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) currently uses body cameras, however this bill would require all uniformed officers to don the devices.
“This is something I see the profession moving toward,” he said. “Across the U.S., we see more agencies moving toward body cameras.”
Furthermore he sees a lot of benefit and understands there is public support for using the body cameras. In Toronto body cameras are already proving effective in current trials.
“But how we go about getting there becomes a question of do we have the funding for it, do we have agreement with the guild. … The right policies and procedures, those would need to be addressed,” he said.
In a 2013 report to the Vancouver Police Board it was suggested “Overall, the team found that there are numerous benefits related to the use of body worn video; however, many of these benefits will likely result in costs to set-up and maintain the body-worn video system” and that “additional time gained (waiting) would also allow the VPD the opportunity to communicate the benefits of body-worn video and address any remaining issues.”
You can view and sign the initiative here.