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Tool gives Delta police even more transparency, accountability

The program has strict guidelines including prohibiting indiscriminate or continuous recording
The report notes that many survey respondents believe that the cameras will increase public confidence in the police’s conduct and integrity, as the recorded interactions will provide an unbiased account of incidents, reducing misunderstandings and disputes. Delta Optimist file

The Delta Police Department (DPD) body-worn camera initiative continues to receive strong public support.

That’s according to a DPD community survey conducted in September 2023, following-up a survey that was conducted the year prior.

Noting it adds to the accountability and transparency of the department, Chief Neil Dubord told a Dec. 13 meeting of the Delta Police Board that the survey found 93 per cent approval in the September 2022 survey, and it was 92 per cent in the latest survey.

Dubord said they had a recent meeting with B.C.’s Solicitor General who also expressed interest and support for the Delta program, the first in the province.

The current use of cameras is authorized only in certain situations such as at a protest, demonstration or other organized or spontaneous event that is unlawful or characterized by unlawful activity, as well as use for Interdiction Team policing activities directed at gang violence prevention.

Some of the other situations include use by members assigned to the Traffic Section, in the course of stopping vehicles and engaging with drivers, as well as use by members assigned to the Patrol Services Section.

A report to the police board notes that, currently, the DPD is equipped with 20 body-worn cameras acquired at a cost of roughly $15,000. While the complete expenditure for the equipment and related gear amounted to $24,000, approximately $9,000 was subsidized through the Police Training and Equipment Grant provided by the provincial Civil Forfeiture Office.

The report also notes that, overall, the survey feedback shows that the program aligns well with DPD’s community-first policing approach.

The department in 2022 became the first in B.C to deploy the cameras operationally, starting with the Interdiction Team. It later expanded to the Traffic Section and then with frontline patrol.