Sarnia Police Service

News Media Release

Sarnia Police Service Implements Biometric Monitoring

clock icon Jun 20, 2024 clock icon 04:42 PM Media Release

Sarnia Police Service Implements Biometric Monitoring

Police services across the country continue to face challenges related to addiction disorders, homelessness, and mental health.  The increasing presence of potentially deadly narcotics such as Fentanyl and other illegal substances has introduced increased risks for police services when taking people into custody.

Part of the lodging process at a police facility involves the officer in charge (OIC) speaking with the arrested person.  The OIC will ask important questions about the individual’s health, safety and any other concerns that police should be aware of while the individual is in police custody.  In 2023, the Sarnia Police Service (SPS) lodged 1778 people, who either provided the following information or refused to answer the OIC booking questions:

·         Do you have any illness or injury?  19% Yes

·         Are you taking any medication? 30% Yes

·         Have you consumed any drugs or alcohol in the last 24 hours?  78% said Yes or refused to answer

·         Do you have any medical or health-related problems? 18% Yes

·         Are you suicidal now?  3% said Yes, 59% refused to answer

·         Have you ever tried to harm yourself? 19% Yes, 5% refused

These statistics illustrate the high risks and potential liability police organizations can face.  In recognition of these modern challenges, the SPS has introduced new technologies to ensure the safety of arrested persons in police custody. 

The SPS is one of the first Ontario agencies to install and implement an innovative new technology designed to enhance prisoner safety in the cells. Biometric health monitoring from GT Global Services Inc. uses radar technology inside the cells to provide real-time monitoring and analysis of vital signs and movement patterns. This technology is installed in each cell and is only activated when the cell is occupied.  Its purpose is to swiftly alert officers of potentially life-threatening medical issues, permitting immediate intervention and access to care.  During its use, this system is not provided with any personal identifiers, respecting and protecting the privacy of those in custody. 

Biometric health monitoring works alongside our existing prisoner care and control policy and processes which include prisoners being checked in person at regular intervals and additionally as needed. 

This new technology furthers our strategic commitment to embrace new technologies to enhance our operations and effectiveness.

It is not uncommon for drugs to be concealed by individuals, or even consumed prior to arrest.  The effects of these substances can quickly become life-threatening if not detected early and intervening action is taken.  This technology provides an additional layer of monitoring that enhances the safety of people in our custody.  It also represents an important investment in protecting the well-being of our officers, who are responsible for prisoner care in these challenging times.”  - Chief Derek Davis


Officers can monitor the system from their workstations.


An officer responds to check the welfare of a person after an alert is triggered.


Monitoring an individual sleeping in police custody.


Inspector Michael Van Sickle #181

Operations Division