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Sunday, October 22, 2017

A new version of the Body Worn Camera (BWC)

Overall I would say the introduction of Body Worn Cameras, and other cameras, has been a net positive for law enforcement. In addition to providing cops with critical criminal evidence, it also has (at least in my agency) led to more officer being cleared in Internal Affairs complaints. Many more investigations are declared "exonerated" (complaint did not happen or did happen and was proper) as opposed to "unfounded" (unable to prove or disprove). And I can recall my first DWI, where the greatest evidence was the video tape at the intoxilyzer station. The jury saw the driver and said, "Looks like a drunk. Acts like a drunk. Sounds like a drunk. That's a drunk."

Now this I must stay I'm a little uneasy with. Perhaps as a supplement to the regular BWC this will be useful, but seeing this would not start until after the weapon is drawn, it will not show things leading up the a possible shooting. But still worth taking a look at.

Under the pistol, takes care of you laser sight and you will need to make another holster for it.
Some police departments show interest in gun-mounted cameras

Some police departments in Minnesota and Arizona plan to test placing cameras on officers’ guns, saying it would give a more unobstructed view of police-involved shootings than body cameras.

A small number of police departments are showing interest in a new type of video camera that can be mounted directly on officers’ guns, saying it may offer a better view of officer-involved shootings than body cameras. Some law enforcement officials and civil rights groups are skeptical.

Among the cons, they point out, is that gun cameras start recording only after weapons are removed from holsters and won’t capture what led to officers drawing their guns, or other interactions with the public. They also say they should be used only as a complement to body cameras.

Besides the better view, supporters say the pros include lower video storage costs because gun cameras record much less often than body cameras and a feature in some models that instantly alerts dispatchers and nearby police via wifi and Bluetooth when officers draw their weapons and may need help...

May also tie up air traffic with alerts, but still, that is a net positive.
Officers’ arms, walls and other objects can get in the way of body cameras, as they did in the New York City Police Department’s fatal shooting of Miguel Richards last month. Officers’ body cameras also may not be turned on, gun camera proponents say.

“It’s kind of cutting-edge technology now,” said Assistant Chief Michael Kovacsev, of the St. Petersburg, Fla., Police Department, which tested gun cameras this year and is also deciding whether to use body cameras.

“One thing about the gun camera is you can actually see what’s going on,” Kovacsev said. “You actually get to see the viewpoint of the officer where the weapon is pointed....”

...The cameras cost around $500, about the same as some body cameras, and mount under the gun barrel. Some also have high-powered lights so officers do not have to hold both a gun and a flashlight...

...There doesn’t appear to be any gun camera footage of a police shooting yet because police agencies have not formally approved use of the cameras, and no shootings happened during trials.

Officials at larger police departments, including New York and Los Angeles, said they have no plans to use gun cameras.

I can understand why NY and LA won't go to this camera right now, money. The number of weapons to be fitted, the cost of the holsters, etc. But this is something to look at, I must say.

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