The government of Alberta is now requiring that all police officers wear body cameras in what they are calling a “paradigm shift.”
Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Services Mike Ellis said the decision is meant to increase accountability and trust in policing.
“Mandating police to wear body-worn cameras is a transformational decision that will ensure all interactions with officers are objective,” Ellis said.
“Whether living in large cities or smaller rural communities, Albertans have the right to feel safe and have trust that police will assist and be fair in doing so.”
Ellis further explained the decision will help prosecute violent criminals, while also ensuring that excessive force used by police is documented and dealt with.
Funding details weren’t provided by Ellis. He added that officers are in favour of the mandate.
“They’re professionals. And I expect them to act professionally and to capture that on video the professionalism that they’re showing to the public every day is only going to increase the public trust in the community,” he said.
This decision comes one month after Alberta Premier Danielle Smith deployed twelve sheriffs to downtown Calgary in a pilot project meant to reduce crime and help Calgarians feel safe walking the streets.
The twelve-week project began February 27, 2023. The Calgary Police Service and Alberta Sheriffs partnered on the project.
Increasing the visible presence of police and sheriffs is meant to provide an air of security within the inner-city neighbourhoods where crime, homelessness, and mental health issues are rising.
Last week, Alberta’s Justice Minister Tyler Shandro said that 4,200 violent offenders are “on the run” from police in the province.
Shandro said this figure includes those wanted for murder, kidnapping, human trafficking and sex crimes.