Toronto Police Chief Vows To 'Fast-Track' Putting Body Cameras On Officers
Chief Mark Saunders says things need to change. Toronto Police body cameras could come into use in the near future after Saunders says the service will be "fast-tracking" their introduction. The chief was speaking on May 29 in a media conference addressing the recent death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet.
That incident at 100 High Park has sparked painful questions.
Among them has been why Toronto Police still does not employ body-worn cameras for its officers, an update that has been discussed since at least 2017.
On Friday, Saunders vowed to speed up the introduction of that technology after what's happened this week.
"This is a textbook case as to why I have been advocating for body-worn cameras and I am now fast-tracking, to the best of my ability, to allow that process to speed up so we can have access to body-worn cameras as soon as possible," he told reporters.
He went on to say that several issues need to be resolved before the technology, which has been in wide use for some time by other law enforcement in North America, can come to Toronto.
"It's not as easy as strapping a camera on and hitting play," he said. "You have so many aspects to deal with, with auditing, with training. Making sure you have equipment that can withstand out in the field the type of dynamics that are involved, making sure the batteries last long enough...
"I could go on for days to say why it's complex."
But, he stressed, the objective evidence that footage provides would be making a huge difference to the Korchinski-Paquet case right now.
"The body-worn camera is not the end-all, but what it is is an added tool that can give an objective account of what occurred during those moments," Saunders continued.
"So it will heighten, I believe, better opportunities for officers to tell their stories. In this case, it would have given a much better account and opportunity to assist with the investigation."
He did emphasize, though, that it has to be done correctly, thus can not be rushed.
Saunders added: "In law enforcement, we embrace the fact that we are scrutinized. We want to be good at what we do."
He stressed that whenever the body-worn cameras are finally rolled out, it has to be done in the right way, with the right equipment and training.
Meanwhile, Saunders also added on Friday that he hopes the protest being held in honour of Korchinski-Paquet on Saturday in Toronto will be peaceful and legal.
The march will take place at 2 p.m. at Christie Pits Park in Toronto on Saturday, May 30.