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Saint John police body camera program delayed by cyberattack against city

Saint John Police Force says front line officers will begin wearing Axon Body 3 body cameras in the fall of 2020. Courtesy: Saint John Police Force

A new program in Saint John that would see all front-line police officers equipped with body-worn cameras is on hold.

Saint John police purchased 60 of the Axon Body 3 body cameras with the intention of having them in use by officers starting in November 2020.

Read more: Saint John Police Force expected to roll out body cameras with livestream capabilities

But Jim Hennessy, the force’s manager of communications, said police were forced to delay the launch of the program after a cyberattack on the City of Saint John.

“The plan right now is to work on the internal programming that we need to put in place,” Hennessy said.

The city had to shut down its information technology network – and subsequently delay the launch of this program – after what it called a “significant” cyberattack in November. Saint John has launched a new website and plans to rebuild the affected parts of its network, but some systems are not expected to be back online for several weeks.

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Hennessy said no new date has been selected for the launch of the program, as plans are largely dependent on when the city’s upgrades are made.

Read more: New Brunswick city rebuilding its IT system after major cyber attack in November

“We do have all of the cameras here,” Hennessy said. “They are in the building, but again, we need to make sure that internal programming’s in place so that when the body-worn cameras are activated, that everything that they need — the citizens need from them — and everything we need from them is there to utilize going forward.”

He said police had completed some training with the cameras that went “extremely well” prior to the cyberattack.

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