It’s Not Just About the Camera
A Look into the Capabilities of a Generation 2 Police Body Camera
Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch believes that helping provide body cameras to agencies struggling to come up with proper funding is “a vital part of the Justice Department’s comprehensive efforts to equip law enforcement agencies throughout the country with the tools, support and training they need to tackle the 21st century challenges we face.”
But even before the Justice Department announced in May that it was funding a body-worn camera pilot program for 20 million dollars, police agencies across the United States were testing, purchasing and wearing body worn cameras.
Many agencies believe that equipping their officers with body cameras is the solution to creating an effective citizen/officer relationship. Too often, however, agencies settle for a body camera that is, well, just a camera.
Reflection of Human Error
Generation 1 Body Cameras are riddled with human error. These body-worn cameras require officers to manually press a button to start or stop recording. Moreover, some body cameras don’t record unless the cover is pushed down to expose the lens.
The flawed design of these devices results in officers failing to record an incident, which creates blurred lines in officer/citizen accountability and transparency.
Another aspect of manually rendered body-worn cameras is video offload. First generation body cameras require officers to manually dock their device at the end of their shift. Recorded video is not viewable until the body camera completely offloads all collected video. The officer cannot categorize, add notes or confirm that the video is safe until it completely uploads to cloud or local storage – a total lack in chain-of-custody.
First Generation Body Cameras are Just Cameras
Until the release of the generation 2 body-worn camera, police body cameras were simple devices with no other functionality than to record what was positioned in front of them; if properly turned on by the user.
Generation 1 BWCs lack:
· Real-time communications
· GPS reporting
· Officer-down reporting
· Automatic recording triggers
· Immediate wireless video offload
· Interactive display screen
Choosing the Best Body Camera for Your Agency
Utility, Inc. developed the Generation 2 BodyWorn™ Camera with the foresight of understanding what key elements in accountability and transparency were missing in a police body camera.
BodyWorn™ rests inside the police uniform in an unobstructed location. Because the body camera is mounted into vest, it is protected from getting damaged or compromised.
The Generation 2 BodyWorn camera is a policy-based recording device that reacts to situational triggers.
Policy-Based Recording Options:
· If an officer starts running (built-in accelerometer).
· If an officer turns on their light-bar and exits the vehicle (integration with the Rocket IoT™ in-car video system).
· If Central Dispatch or Supervisors create a geofence or action zone within the AVaiL Web™ backend system.
· If "Officer Down" occurs (BodyWorn™ reacts if an officer is injured and horizontal by automatically recording and sending an alert to Central Dispatch and Supervisors).
When it comes to choosing the right police body camera for your agency, accurately providing accountability and transparency is an important consideration. Agencies should look into Generation 2 Body-Worn Cameras, which offer real-time communications, GPS reporting, wireless upload to the cloud, officer-down reporting and an interactive display screen.