Body cameras for law enforcement

Police cameras are an important tool for the law enforcement community. Body cameras for law enforcement come in handy in a variety of situations: documenting the scene of an accident or crime, creating an important record of a volatile and confusing situation, police traffic stops, arrests, as well as eliminating “he-said, she-said” incidents with the press of a button.

Amazing advances in law enforcement camera technology are allowing police and law enforcement to benefit from high definition vehicle and police body cameras. Body cameras for law enforcement are becoming increasingly ubiquitous with high tech models coming with a variety of useful designs and features.

The usefulness of body-worn cameras for police officers is obvious. For one, they can protect officers in the event of misconduct allegations and from costly litigation. Second, an officer can sometimes diffuse a situation by just letting a belligerent person know they are being recorded. Third, they can provide valuable evidence and records of incidents, traffic stops, arrests and crime scenes.

“Reasons to use officer-worn cameras are to increase officer safety, reduce agency liability, reduce officer complaints and improve the public perception of police,” Lafayette police Sgt. John Sellers told TechBeat. It is really no wonder why there is such a growing demand for both police body cameras and police car cameras.

Most of the police cameras for law enforcement police use either clip on to the front of their uniform shirt or are disguised as a shirt button. Popular body cams include a small pager-sized model that clips on the shirt. Lawmate’s button-type cameras are disguised as a shirt button and record to a small digital recorder that fits in a pocket. There are many other models including button cameras with built-in digital video recorders that record either to internal memory or to a MicroSD card. Most of these cameras record at between 640 x 480 resolutions to 720 x 480 resolution. They also usually have a time/date stamp feature. Some are also waterproof and some have password protection as well. Many of these same cameras are available to the public for personal use.

The most advanced police body camera on the market today is a model that replaces the lapel handset mic on an officer’s uniform and connects to their radio. What it so advanced is the HD 1080p recording resolution, GPS geo tagging, the LCD screen and the supervisor password protection? It also can be used a police car dashboard camera.

Police watchdogs and citizens groups also support the use of police cameras and dashboard cameras as tools for accountability, but are concerned about citizen’s privacy issues that could arise with their use. Some legal experts encourage cameras saying the more video evidence, the better. A world where “all encounters can be recorded by everybody” is “not necessarily a bad state of affairs,” Professor Howard Wasserman, a First Amendment scholar at Florida International University’s law school, told the New York Times.

Police and law enforcement cameras come in all types: police body cameras, police car cameras, small and large, basic and state-of-the-art. In the new digital age, utilizing technologies that make life easier and people safer is a must. Advancements are constantly being integrated in exciting, new ways to create important tools for all of us.

Pros and Cons of Using Body cameras for law enforcement

The police personnel use different types of equipment and tools in their daily duties to increase their efficiency and performance. There is a specific tool that has made an entry into their usage in the past decade and is creating ripples in both ways for its efficiency. Yes, they are the body cameras that the police have started to use in the jobs. Their usage has also given rise to a lot of debate about their efficacy in different settings. The supporters feel that they are good to be used as they facilitate more precision and the skeptics feel that they are bad as they kill the privacy that a person may have in public as well as private spaces.

Now, people are not too sure as to when these cameras would be switched on and when they would be switched off. Though there are concerns related to privacy of the public, there is ample support for using body cameras by the police personnel in their jobs. This is a new technology that has been welcomed with open arms even by the Obama administration.

For all those people who are still hearing this for the first time, here is some information about what these devices actually are:

The body camera is a small device which can be attached to the upper part of the uniform of the police officer. These devices are used for recording the work on a day-to-day basis or as per the requirements of the officer using it. It all depends on the battery life that the camera comes in with. A few cameras have the battery life running up to 2 hours and a few others up to 12 hours.

The main purpose of using the body cameras is to gain more accountability for the job that is being done. It also protects the innocent from getting accused in case of a crime. It is therefore a win-win scenario for both the police as well as the public. It is like a double edged knife where unprofessional behavior of the police personnel can get recorded or an innocent person can be saved of a false accusation.
On the other side of the coin, the skeptics feel that in case a confidant wishes to confide in the police regarding a particular case or detail, he would get extremely conscious and refrain from sharing the news as he would not want his identity to be revealed.

There is also another debate related to how better the body cameras are when compared to the dashboard cameras. The latter are those which are fitted on the dashboard of the police car so that they can record anything that is happening in the front of the vehicle. The body camera wins hands down in comparison because the dashboard cameras have limited scope as they can catch only the front visuals and that too just a few feet away from the vehicle.

Given the debate, it could go on and on but uses of body cameras have their own pros which outnumber the cons. Major Police Supply houses a wide range of these products and has come to be known as a trusted partner that offers emergency equipment for police and law enforcement departments.