Montreal latest Canadian city to test body cameras for police officers

Montreal has become the latest Canadian city to equip its police officers with body cameras.

Montreal has become the latest Canadian city to equip its police officers with body cameras.

Mayor Denis Coderre says about 30 officers — in subway and traffic patrol units — will wear cameras during phase one of the nine-month pilot project, which started on Wednesday.

Officers working out of two or three neighbourhood police stations will be equipped with the cameras beginning in the fall for phase two.

The cameras are made by Axon Public Safety Canada, a subsidiary of Taser International Inc., that offers body cameras and video management products to police forces across Canada.

All the video recorded by the cameras will be hosted on a cloud-based server run by Taser and located physically in Canada.

Montreal says it will host public consultations after the pilot project ends to hear what citizens think of the cameras.

Proponents say the cameras provide better evidence, lead to more convictions, improve officers’ interactions with the public and reduce police use-of-force incidents.

Critics say the videos invade the privacy of citizens, and worry that administrative duties related to body cameras will keep officers away from policing.

Montreal follows cities such as Toronto and Edmonton, which have tested the technology.

Toronto’s project ended in April while Edmonton’s study ended in 2014.

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson had told The Canadian Press there wasn’t a good business case for the program and it wasn’t worth the hassle.