Stratford, P.E.I. has installed two new police surveillance cameras — not to enforce speeding, but to promote public safety and help solve crimes.
One camera is on the Stratford side of the Hillsborough Bridge, and the second is at the Trans-Canada Highway roundabout at Georgetown Road.
The new cameras are part of the E-Watch program run by the Town of Stratford, the City of Charlottetown, the P.E.I. RCMP and the provincial Department of Justice and Public Safety.
Cameras such as these are an effective tool during police investigations, said Cpl. Gavin Moore, the media relations officer with the P.E.I. RCMP.
"Stolen vehicles, suspects, motor vehicle collisions — all of this information can be retrieved from these cameras," Moore said.
The surveillance cameras have become a key tool for Charlottetown's police service, says Chief Brad MacConnell. (Wayne Thibodeau/CBC)
For example, Moore said, if officers are searching for a suspect, they can look at the footage to spot where that person is going and with whom.
The Town of Stratford has plans to install more cameras, said Jody Jackson, a town councillor and chair of safety services.
Proven track record
The City of Charlottetown has had E-Watch cameras in place since 2015, and the police chief says they have been critical in promoting public safety and helping to solve crimes.
"It's a complete game-changer when it comes to situational awareness," said Chief Brad MacConnell.
"We're able to police our populations better and protect people and promote that sense of public safety — whether it be in times like the Island marathon or large festivals in our downtown or protests."
The camera footage is only referred to when police are investigating an incident, says P.E.I. RCMP Cpl. Gavin Moore. (Shane Hennessey/CBC)
Charlottetown has 135 surveillance cameras, while Summerside and Kensington also have cameras through the E-Watch program.
Police don't monitor all of the footage, but refer back to it when investigating an incident or a crime, Moore said.
Emergency dispatchers in Charlottetown use the cameras every day to understand calls for service, said MacConnell.
"I think they will tell you that they are probably one of the most important tools they have," he said.
The cameras are not recording homes or businesses, said Jackson.