Cold weather conks out RCMP recordings

The video gadgets in RCMP vehicles don’t like the cold. Lacombe police Sgt. Steve Murray said that the moments of Wayne Hare’s 2011 arrest were not caught on camera because the situation wasn’t an emergency.

The video gadgets in RCMP vehicles don’t like the cold.

During a press conference last week, Lacombe police Sgt. Steve Murray said that the moments of Wayne Hare’s 2011 arrest were not caught on camera because the situation wasn’t an emergency and the vehicle’s video system wasn’t turned on.

But according to Sgt. Grant Lohrenz, an RCMP professional standards officer, the video system was likely too cold to record.

“When you have technology and cold together, you usually have a problem. In most police cars, they’re mounted in the trunk. It takes upwards of 15 to 20 minutes before they can warm up before they can start recording,” said Lohrenz.

The night of Hare’s arrest, the temperature was a frigid minus 40 degrees C. He was given a courtesy ride in an RCMP SUV from the Whitehorse detachment to the Salvation Army. The ride lasted only a few minutes, but when Hare arrived, he became combative and slammed the SUV door on the officer’s back, said Murray.

Hare was then arrested for breaching the peace. Hare later accused the RCMP of mistreating him. The whole evening’s events were captured on video and audio surveillance, except for the scuffle and arrest at the Salvation Army.

RCMP policy states that vehicle video recording should be switched on during any interaction with the public, not just in an emergency, but according to Lohrenz, the DVD recording system doesn’t do well in Yukon winters.

“In a perfect world, they should be running whenever we’re out and about,” said Lohrenz.

Murray conducted an independent investigation and the RCMP was exonerated of all allegations Hare made. The RCMP also did their own internal review, and Lohrenz said no changes in policy will be made.

Contact Jesse Winter at jessew@yukon-news.com