Handheld biometric scanners to be installed at Winnipeg Police Headquarters

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Winnipeg Police Headquarters will have 11 handheld biometric scanners installed at entrances and exits to track which officers are in the building at any given time, reports the CBC.

The addition of the scanners is the result of a $ 158,000 human resources upgrade approved by Winnipeg City Council in 2018, and will be connected to attendance management software that will let senior management know who is in the building at all times. The move is intended as an upgrade to the existing punch card system in use today.

In some cases, the police need to know which personnel are on the scene – particularly in cases where specialized agents are needed, such as tactical agents or breathalyzer technicians – and the new system should help. locate them more efficiently.

In an interview with the CBC, Winnipeg Police Chief Danny Smyth welcomed the move, saying biometric scanners will improve an outdated system.

“Right now we’re using the lists and calling people home because our scheduling system is quite old,” said Smyth, while indicating that the scanners would provide “an extra layer of building security.”

City Councilor and Police Board Chairman Kevin Klein also voiced his support for the system, saying it would help improve accountability, a sentiment shared by Smyth, who highlighted recent issues with the leadership of property inspections in the city which resulted in the loss of some employees. fired for conducting personal business at work.

However, the decision to implement the new scanners has drawn criticism from the Winnipeg Police Association (WPA) – the city’s police union – whose members have recently been troubled by the possibility of budget cuts. policy as well as potential changes to their pension. plans.

Maurice Sabourin, the president of the WPA, also criticized the $ 158,000 upgrade to the police headquarters, saying: “These are priorities, [t]here are so many problems with this building. It is very discouraging for these members to come to work on a daily basis and face all the other difficulties.

Sabourin also defended the existing punch card system, arguing that it is more than enough and does not need to be improved.

“We already have systems in place that allow us to track quite precisely where members are. We have card access, we have a supervisor, we have GPS, we have radios, so biometrics is a bit of a surprise to us, ”he said.

“Other than just another slap in the face of the member, that pretty much means we don’t trust you to be in the workplace at the right time. “

The WPA is also expressing concerns about the use of all data collected by biometric scanners, an issue that is currently at the forefront of the global biometric industry.

Source: Radio-Canada

December 4, 2019 – by Tony Bitzionis


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