Fredericton — The City of Stately Elms has been under fire as of late due to inappropriate actions from members of the police department, and council may finally be doing something about it by replacing officers with cameras.
As reported by CBC last week, Fredericton is looking to have cameras installed at traffic lights and other areas around the city to help do what the police department seemingly can’t do: fight crime. City council is proposing to phase out the police department little by little by having cameras photograph crimes and sending tickets to the perpetrators by mail.
The capital city currently has 5 members of its police force under suspension for misconduct and has been feeling the pressure from Mayor Woodside to take action.
“Our fine citizens are getting tired of using their taxes to pay for cops to arrest other cops,” declared the mayor. “I’m positive they would rather see their taxes being spent on more reliable forms of policing like cameras and hopefully, eventually robot-cops.”
The proposal would see the city start off small by installing cameras at traffic lights and other hot-spots for crime such as vacant parking lots and massage parlours. If successful, the plan would roll into a second phase, which would see police-cameras installed on every third tree in the city and would be mandatory in all Fredericton households.
“We’re picturing something like Judge Dredd,” said an overly excited Woodside. “And not that crappy remake either; I’m talking about the Stallone one from back in the day — how he never won an Oscar for that role is beyond me.”
The cameras are installed using a state-of-the-art program that instantly recognizes when a law is broken, and then uses a butt-recognition technology to identify the criminals.
“Everyone is using face-recognition nowadays,” explained programmer Joshua Carlson. “Criminals expect that, so we’re trying something different. With our technology, we make accurate charges nearly 50 percent of the time — that’s more than double that of the local police department.”
After identifying the suspect, a ticket is printed at a local administration office and sent out to the suspect’s address on file indicating the date, time and nature of the crime. The suspect then has 1 month to pay the fine or face an even bigger fine if that fine expires.
“We’re hoping that eventually we’ll have a drone-like device that will hunt down anyone who doesn’t pay their fine,” said Carlson. “Then the drone will either kill you or shock you, depending on the severity of the fine. That’s phase 3, and it’s still in the planning stage.”
Reactions were mixed in the city, with some people wondering what would happen to the officers left without a job.
“They’ll probably end up on EI,” suggested southside resident Cathy Hansen. “Then they’ll get paid for doing nothing at all — I guess not much would change.”
Larry Brown of Devon was somewhat skeptical of the project. “I think the traffic light thing would work,” he agreed, “but just because a camera takes a picture of me buying drugs in a parking lot, that doesn’t mean I was really buying drugs in a parking lot — maybe it was candy?”
There is currently no timeline in place for this initiative, but if Mayor Woodside has it his way, it won’t be long before Fredericton’s police force goes from looking like a mess to being picture perfect.