Guelph police say some of its officers will wear body cameras, starting next week, as part of a one-year pilot project.
Twenty-one cameras, that will capture audio and video, will be given to officers working in the police’s traffic unit and high enforcement team, along with a selection of frontline patrol members, a police spokesperson said.
Guelph police said the pilot project is in line with its strategic plan and will explore if the cameras are an effective device to better serve the community.
“This pilot will measure body-worn camera effectiveness in relation to employee and public perceptions, court outcomes, and Guelph Police Service efficiencies,” police said.
The service has also partnered with Dr. Alana Saulnier, who is the criminology program coordinator at Lakehead University and has previously worked alongside the Chicago Police Department and Durham Regional Police Service.
The service said it hopes the partnership will help gain a better understanding of the impact cameras have on the community and its officers.
Guelph police also said the pilot will contribute to the field of research on the use of body cameras in Canada.
There will also be some public engagement, but what that will look like is unclear due to COVID-19, police said. They added that Dr. Saulnier’s research will include a portion that will gather information on public perceptions.
“The Guelph Police Service will use the information learned during the pilot project to assist in deciding whether body-worn cameras will become a permanent piece of equipment for all officers,” the service said.
The pilot project will start on Sept. 1 and conclude on Aug. 31, 2021.
Global News has reached out to Guelph police for more information about how the cameras will work and how the information will be handled.