Municipal law enforcement officers in Cobourg will begin using body-worn cameras September 26

Town of Cobourg says use of cameras will enhance trust and improve enforcement reporting and accountability

Body-worn cameras from American company Axon are used by law enforcement around the world. (Photo: Axon)
Body-worn cameras from American company Axon are used by law enforcement around the world. (Photo: Axon)

Municipal law enforcement officers in the Town of Cobourg will begin using body-worn cameras as of next Monday (September 26).

On August 16, town council approved a report from the town’s legislative services division outlining the policy for the use of body-worn cameras by municipal law enforcement officers during investigations and within the course of their operations.

Municipal law enforcement officers are responsible for enforcing the town’s by-laws and regulations. Officers with the Cobourg Police Service have already been using body-worn cameras since June.

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“The use of body-worn cameras aims to enhance trust between town staff and the community as well as improve enforcement reporting and accountability,” reads a media release from the Town of Cobourg.

“Body-worn cameras are intended to capture specific interactions with the public and are not intended for full-shift recordings. The body-worn cameras allow for accurate documentation of officer-public contacts and enhance the accuracy of officer reports and testimony in court.”

“Audio and video recordings also enhance the town’s ability to review enforcement proceedings and may also be useful in documenting infractions, violations, and accident scenes or other events that include the confiscation, removal of equipment, personal items, and vehicles from town or private property.”

A municipal law enforcement officer will wear the cameras in full sight, with lights on the camera indicating it has been activated.

At a private place or residence, an officer must obtain the fully informed consent of the owner or occupant before they can activate their body-worn camera. The owner or occupant can request that an interaction not be recorded at any time during the officer’s attendance at the private place or residence.

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The minimum retention period for recordings from body-worn cameras is 60 days, with recordings of evidence captured during an investigation retained for a minimum of two-and-a-half years.

More information about the town’s policy on body-worn cameras is available at www.cobourg.ca/bwc.