Two Hamilton Police Cruiser cars on a street.
Two Hamilton Police cruisers in August 2017 Credit: Joey Coleman / The Public Record

All of Hamilton’s front-line police officers will soon be equipped with body cameras, if the Hamilton Police Service Board approves spending $15,427,526.40 over five years to purchase and operate them.

The Chief’s report does not state how the program will be funded, nor if the HPS will use its reserve accounts to cover start-up costs. No dates for implementation are provided.

HPS states body cameras will offer “an unbiased view” of interactions between police and the public. Public calls for the use of body cameras have focused on issues of accountability and police behaviour.

The Hamilton Police Service has equipped 78 of its vehicles with camera systems.

Since implementing in-car cameras “there have been eight incidents where ICC/ALPR footage was used for investigations of member’s behaviour, with one resulting in disciplinary action being taken.”

Car cameras have decreased the number of people challenging traffic offense tickets, because of video evidence of their infractions.

“Numbers suggest that the video created by ICC/ALPR systems is having a tremendous effect on guilty pleas prior to involving the courts.”

A recent Coroners Inquest into the death of Sammy Yatim, who was shot and killed by a Toronto Police Service officer on July 27, 2013, recommended the Province mandate body worn cameras for all frontline police officers in Ontario. [The officer who shot and killed Yatim was found guilty of attempted murder and served two years in jail.]

The Hamilton Police Services states 633 positions have been idenitifed as “front-line” officers. $11,748,451.40 of the $15.4-million budget is to purchase 650 camera units and software.

In his report requesting authorization, Hamilton Chief of Police Frank Bergen states the service will need to hire seven staff to coordinate and manage the program: Five digital evidence management clerks to process video evidence to ensure disclosure to the courts and respond to freedom of information requests, a full-time techinician to maintain and repair equipment, and a sergeant as program coordinator.

Hamilton’s Police Board meets Thursday at City Hall. The public portion of the meeting is scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m.

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Published: April 20, 2024
Last edited: April 20, 2024
Author: Joey Coleman
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  1. I believe cameras are long overdue for the police and the people they encounter. I hope the businesses that gain security from police walking the walk will step up to vote and help also. PB

  2. Does anyone else consider the cost of buying Lapel camera’s. 633 camera’s at a total of $11,748451.40 or$18559.95 per unit A very inflated price. Even with software. The camera’s are required in this day and age. But can be procured for far less money.The cost must be a closed bid. No one Police or citizen should object to officers using them They must in my opinon turn on automatically upon leaving the car or when approaching a suspect. No reason for concern if all concerned are acting appropriately. Thus improving Police standing in society.

  3. There’s a long list of individual members who will find ways to neutralize the camera. Those things should not have an off switch available to the officer and should be spherical cameras. Google “Tyre Nichols” and watch the police bodycams, the watch the video taken from a camera the cops didn’t know about. Those cops neutralized the cameras as a drill, automatically and without discussion.
    Bit it’s a start.

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