By: Winnipeg City Councillor Kevin Klein serving Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood
The issues of racism and excessive force are creating division in our city and distrust in police. We've waited six months for this leadership to take action, and nothing has changed. Ignoring the issues doesn't mean it no longer exists. At the Assiniboia Community Committee meeting Councillor Klein will move a motion to provide funding to outfit Winnipeg Police Service General Patrol officers with Body Worn Cameras in 2021. Nearly everyone has a cell phone or another way to record videos, and those videos often wind up online in fragments. Not all the videos posted provides the entire story, and creates questions and leads to police mistrust. With the body-worn cameras, investigators will view the incident as the whole. "The use of body-worn cameras will support the Winnipeg Police Service's ongoing efforts to create a safe, transparent, and accountable policing environment for the City of Winnipeg. They will give confidence to residents that we, elected officials, take their concerns seriously," said Klein. Previously the WPS included body-worn cameras in their budget to City Hall, which was not approved by Mayor Bowman and his EPC budget working group.
Dennis O'Connor, chair of the North Bay Police Services Board, told the North Bay Nugget that Toronto had initially been looking at a cost of $80 million to outfit all 6,000 uniformed officers with the cameras. In June, O'Connor said, the estimate had fallen to about $10 million.
You can't deny that body-worn cameras are unbiased, reliable eyewitnesses to interactions with the police. They will help build trust between community members and police officers.
"I can't imagine any member of this council or the Mayor not agreeing with the purchase and implementation of body-worn cameras, especially in today's every dividing world. "
The time to act is now, and I hope my council colleagues will unanimously support this motion at the Executive Policy Committee and at the September City Council Meeting.
COPY OF MOTION