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TTC recommends pilot for body cameras, in-car cameras for special constables

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Some TTC special constables could be outfitted with body-worn cameras as of early 2024.

In a report, set to be considered by the TTC board during a meeting today, staff recommend that a pilot program be established in the first quarter of 2024.

Once implemented, the pilot will run for a nine-month period. Twenty special constables and 20 fare inspectors will be equipped with body cameras as part of the pilot. Meanwhile, in-vehicle camera equipment has been purchased for 14 special constable service vehicles.

The cameras will then rotate throughout the force, giving all officers the opportunity to wear them.

The proposed program will cost the transit system an estimated $1,243,000.

The pilot program was created in consultation with stakeholders across the city, including the City of Toronto’s Indigenous Affairs Office and Confronting Anti-Black Racism Unit and is said to “mirror the procedural requirements” of the Toronto Police Service’s body camera policy, which was approved by the TPS board in August of 2020.

According to the report submitted to the TTC board, the idea of a body camera pilot program was first proposed in a report from the Ombudsman Toronto submitted to the board in 2017. The TTC board adopted the recommendations in that report as well as subsequent reports investigating incidents involving fare inspectors and special constables.

In 2020, former Toronto Mayor John Tory said he supported the idea of outfitting TTC officers with body cameras to provide more accountability for interactions between TTC employees and members of the public.

“The task of changing a culture is not only something that doesn’t happen immediately but it is very hard work because there are things that get entrenched and they are entrenched not because anybody wants them to be but just because they are,” Tory said at that time.

“This is what really leads to what is called systemic racism because it is built in across the system and it is baked in to the system and has to be sort of baked out of the system.”

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