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Thousands sign online petition calling for B.C. Mounties to wear body cameras

Last Updated Jun 6, 2020 at 10:16 am PDT

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — While Canadians and Americans protest police brutality, 18,000 people have signed a petition to make body cameras mandatory for all B.C. RCMP officers.

Former B.C. Solicitor General, Kash Heed, says body camera must be mandatory to make police officers accountable if they’ve used excessive force during an arrest.

“In order for police agencies to maintain public trust [and] their credibility with the citizens they serve, they should have this body camera as an accountability factor,” he says.

When Heed was the chief of West Vancouver PD in 2008, an equipment manufacturer and he discussed body cams, which prompted Heed to say that body cams are “long overdue.”

The Calgary Police Service is the only Canadian force currently using body cameras.

According to a 2014 report by Canada’s public safety ministry, one body camera costs about $1,000 and storing all of the footage would cost thousands annually.

Although Heed says the financial cost is worth it.

“When you look in investigations for police officers using excessive force, the amount of time, the amount of energy, the amount of expense, put into those types of investigations, certainly you can realize it cost savings if you when to this type of accountability,” he says.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has also called for an end to police brutality.

“The federal government does have authority over the RCMP but we need to work with provinces and indeed municipalities to cover all police forces and justice systems across this country. Snd these are the kinds of things that we need to do as a country, across all orders of government in the coming days.”

Trudeau has not outlined specifics on what police reform might look like.

-With files from Nikitha Martins