- The city council is seeking answers after discovering that parking enforcement personnel had body cameras implanted inconspicuously last year.
- The program’s purpose, as per community standards director Matt Grazier, is to help prevent escalating interactions with the public.
The city council is looking for answers after finding that body camera were discreetly installed for parking enforcement officers last year.
The Saskatoon Police Service started a pilot program in March to equip officers with body cameras.
However, parking enforcement officers were already using similar cameras.
The information was provided in the city’s community standards division’s annual report.
“City and contract parking staff have frequent interactions with people, with a high potential for confrontation,” according to the report.
“In reply to a heightened danger of violence, a body-worn camera program was launched as a staff safety tool in 2021.
Ward 2 Coun. Hilary Gough was surprised to learn that the cameras were already in use, given the possible privacy concerns associated with the devices.
“This arrived as a bit of a shock to me, and I know the Saskatoon Police Service has done a huge amount of research as well as engagement around it,” Gough said.
“I’m curious what kind of privacy review was conducted before its installation and whether other countries are employing this for similar services.”
According to community programs general manager Lynn Lacroix, the judgment to install the cameras was made after collaboration with the Saskatoon Police Service “after many assaults” on parking enforcement officers.
According to community standards director Matt Grazier, the program’s goal is to assist prevent escalating interactions with the public.
“At least anecdotally, I’d say our staff has been really satisfied with the results from what I’ve heard (there have been) a reduced amount of incidences and bad interactions out on the street,” says chevalier.
Grazier said the initiative went through the “normal process” that included the city’s privacy commissioner.
According to the community standards division, the recordings acquired by the cameras are governed by the Local Authority Freedom of Information and the Protection of Privacy Act.
When the report was considered, the councilors in attendance at Monday’s planning, development, and community services committee meeting unanimously voted to request a report investigating the program’s privacy concerns and cost.
“There could be some significant advantages here. I think it is vital for us to spend a little more time considering the consequences of this as part of our due diligence, “Mairin Loewen, Ward 7 Councilwoman.
Source: CTV News