The Toronto Police Services Board approved the purchase of 2,350 body-worn cameras to equip the city’s officers.
Mayor John Tory, who sits on the board, said he was moved to vote in favour of the cameras in part because reports on a pilot project found that they would improve community relations.
“Improved accountability is key to the rebuilding trust between police and communities,” said Tory after the three reports were unanimously approved by the board.
“These cameras will be a valuable tool to help with that, though not the only one. I will be seeking tight rules on the operation of these cameras so that their purpose will be genuinely served.”
The addition of body cameras was proposed by Toronto city council in a series of changes to policing amid ongoing protests denouncing systemic racism.
The program will cost $30 million over five years, most of that expense being earmarked for cloud-based storage space for the hundreds of hours of video that will be generated by the cameras on a daily basis. That storage will also be used for police cruiser dashcams, cameras in interview rooms, and other sources of video evidence.
According to reports, all cameras should reach police by August 2021.
The deal also includes 3,000 licences for data management, situational awareness and sharing tools.
Toronto police will be the first in the country to use these body cameras.