Utility embraces the Recommendations and Lessons Learned in the report “Implementing a Body-Worn Camera Program”, jointly issued by the US Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, and by the Police Executive Research Forum. This report is a landmark in guiding the discussion about body-worn cameras. Our key takeaways from this report include:
• Police Actions are a matter of Public Record
• Powerful Need to Demonstrate Transparency, Openness, and Accountability
• Privacy and Trust are paramount to Community Policing
• Increasingly there are already multiple citizen video cameras at an Incident scene
• Citizens have important Privacy Rights
• Not all Citizen interaction should be recorded
• Police Officers should have Discretion with Accountability to not Record
• Maintaining the Public Trust is paramount
Underlying all these takeaways, it is imperative that body-worn video be collected reliably and stored securely. At the same time, it is important to recognize that Incidents do not necessarily stay where they start. Location and other metadata are a key part of evidence.
However, as good as the Report is, the Recommendations in this report were based upon the state of body-worn camera technology that existed in September 2013, and still exists today - what we describe as Generation 1 body-worn cameras. Generation 1 body-worn cameras have significant technology limitations that reduce their effectiveness in meeting the Report Recommendations. Generation 1 body-worn cameras in reality are not much different than GoPro®-type consumer body-worn cameras. Recording has to be manually started and can be manually stopped at any time. Video is stored in open common video file formats that can be directly uploaded to YouTube and Social Media sites. Generation 1 body-worn cameras have no Internet connectivity or internal GPS. Many Generation 1 body-worn cameras are low resolution 640 x 480 VGA – they do not even capture High Definition video like a GoPro® does.
Furthermore, some Generation 1 body-worn cameras record all the time, which compromises Citizen Privacy and Officer Discretion. In contrast, Generation 2 body-worn camera recording can be started automatically as an Incident starts, can be configured so they can’t be stopped manually, record at the same High Definition as consumer cell phones, leverage wireless IPbased connectivity to support real-time Situational Awareness and broadband IoT, and are 2014 Utility – All Rights Reserved Page 5 of 21 Generation 2 Body-Worn Cameras and the Evidence EcoSystemTM practical, reliable and cost-effective today. Generation 1 body-worn camera weaknesses and a description of Generation 2 body-worn camera technical advantages are described on the following pages. Generation 2 body-worn cameras will allow Police departments to realize the significant benefits that body-worn cameras can bring to Public Safety and Citizen Trust. There is no reason to accept the limitations of existing Generation 1 body-worn cameras.
Full white paper on generation 2 body-worn cameras available here.