KENTVILLE - The Kentville Police Service is equipping all officers with body-worn cameras.
“They just wear them on their chest and turn them on when they go into any place and they can record the entire incident,” said Kentville Police Service Chief Julia Cecchetto.
“Policy is going to dictate when they turn them on, which is basically every incident where they are lawfully in a residence or lawfully engaged with people.”
There will be directives that indicate the circumstances in which it is permissible for the officers to turn the cameras off.
“It will have to be a very good reason why they turn them off,” said Cecchetto, who added that the officers would have to state why they chose to do so prior to powering off for record-keeping purposes.
The police service launched a pilot program with body-worn cameras in the fall of 2016, starting out with equipping one officer per shift and building from there.
Beyond collecting video evidence, Cecchetto said they’ve found the cameras enhance accountability, provide an added level of protection and can result in less aggression toward officers.
“When people hear it chirp they become aware that they’re being monitored via video and so they tend to stay much more reasonable,” she said.
Cecchetto sees the move to equip every officer on shift with a body cam as one that will benefit the police service and members of the public alike.
“If someone makes a complaint against an officer it’s very easy to pull the video and determine if they did or didn’t do something wrong.”
It is estimated the cameras will cost about 14 to $16,000 throughout the life of the five-year project, Cecchetto said.
“Anything that gives them a level of protection is good,” she added.
The effectiveness of the cameras will be monitored on an ongoing basis.