The municipality of Saint-Zotique has decided to acquire two body cameras. A technology that will be useful in reducing the tensions that can arise during an exchange with citizens.
Jean-François Messier, director general of the municipality, assures us that this new tool will serve as much for the protection of employees as of citizens. The cameras may be worn during home meetings for permit inspections, follow-up of requests and complaints, or for fire prevention intervention. “For 5-6 years, firefighters have intervened in pairs when there is an open bonfire because it has happened that there have been threats made, he says. There were also verbal or aggressive behaviors when collecting taxes. Our employees do not deserve to be scolded. “
He also mentioned that situations at Saint-Zotique Beach forced the municipality to move increased security there. Mr. Messier was never aware of any physical altercations between employees and citizens. But a climate of tension and pressure seems to be settling in Quebec since the pandemic and the deconfinement that is taking place. To avoid these situations, Saint-Zotique purchased two body cameras for an amount of less than $ 500.
The municipality is based on the pilot project of the Police Department of the City of Montreal regarding the legal aspect of the use of such an accessory. Thus, the employee will have to inform the citizen that he is equipped with a body camera. The images will not be able to be broadcast and the resident will be able to withdraw from the field of view of the camera if he does not wish to be filmed. “The SPVM pilot project has advice on using the images in court, we are not there,” added Mr. Messier. Cameras are a part of everyday life, this is new technology and it is only for protection. We haven’t come across any harsh people to date. “