Body cameras on police officers could soon be coming to Peel Region. As tensions continue to escalate due to recent tragedies in the U.S and here at home, the mayors of both Mississauga and Brampton are calling for Peel Regional Police to start wearing the devices across the board. Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie shared the announcement during a press briefing on June 3.
Crombie began her briefing on Wednesday by recognizing the issues the black community faces on both a global and a local scale.
She then shared that she and her Brampton counterpart Patrick Brown will be jointly introducing a motion at the next Peel Police Services Board (PPSB) meeting on June 26 which suggests introducing the use of body cameras on officers.
"Now, more than ever, we need to take action and preserve the public trust while at the same time allowing police to do their jobs effectively, which is why at our next (PPSB) meeting, Mayor Patrick Brown of Brampton and myself will be moving a motion to explore the use of body cameras for Peel Police," said Crombie on Wednesday.
"Chief (Nishan) Duraiappah is supportive and eager to embrace this new technology," she added. "It is our hope that this will help increase transparency and trust between the police and the communities that they serve."
A statement emailed to Narcity by PRP spokesperson Cst. Akhil Mooken noted: "We are always looking for ways of improvement, to continue to deliver policing services that are accountable and transparent. We are receptive to options surrounding the use of body-worn cameras."
Crombie went on to explain the first steps in the meantime will be "meaningful engagement" with black, African, and Caribbean communities.
She, Mayor Brown, and Chief Duraiappah will hold a series of meetings with those groups on how they can dismantle anti-black racism in Peel.
"We cannot and will not ignore how incidents between police and the public have disproportionately affected members of the black community," added Crombie.
"These cameras will not fix all our problems but they are one tool that can be effectively employed to help modernize policing and help address systemic racism."
The issue of body-worn cameras has returned to the forefront in Ontario this week after Regis Korchinski-Paquet's death in Toronto and the death of George Floyd at a police officer's hands in the U.S. That latter incident is now being charged as second-degree murder, reports CBC.
Last week, Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders vowed to "fast track" body cameras on officers amid the Korchinski-Paquet case.