The Henderson Police Department is partnering with Utility Incorporated to add a tool the department and the company say improves upon traditional body cameras.
"Traditionally they've been manual on off in nature, magnetically mounted or clipped to the outside of the uniform, which is rife with issue,” said Chris Lindenau with Utility Incorporated. “The types of circumstances when officers are least equipped to find the manual on off button to their camera are those same circumstances when agencies are expecting, and the public is expecting, to have video."
The technology automatically activates officers' body cameras when they withdraw and re-holster their guns. The cameras are also activated when the system detects the sound of officers firing, or when they're fired upon.
The video system correlates with GPS to show the sequence of events on an interactive map display. It sends out alerts to dispatch and nearby officers,” and can even detect when an officer is down.
"Just another tool in the belt,” said Major Jermaine Poynter with HPD. “Well, now this technology will help give us the ability to show exactly what happened throughout the whole scene."
Beyond providing added safety for officers, the system is also designed to ensure video is always captured in situations when lives are on the line.
"So we can be transparent, and show, and also some accountability too,” Poynter said.
"Most departments, in fact I would say, I would submit to you every department, would want video associated with the justification for the withdrawal of the weapon,” Lindenau said.
Utility incorporated says about 125 departments across the country are using the technology, and it’s currently being tested by the Evansville Police Department.
Henderson Police will be rolling the cameras out in August.