police dash camera

How Police Dash Camera Systems Improve Situational Awareness

What can a state-of-the-art, police dash camera system do for a police department?  Quite simply, it can transform it. The latest video systems incorporate real-time communications, policy-based automatic recording functionality, real-time GPS positioning and other cutting-edge features to vastly improve the way police officers do their jobs.

Departments are embracing new technologies that help them catch criminals faster, expedite investigations, and augment transparency efforts. For officers in the field, a top-notch in-car communications platform can take situational awareness to a whole new level.

The latest smart patrol car systems fully integrate video captured from in-car and police body cameras. Importantly, these systems are adaptable to the needs of each agency partner and they can ultimately deliver comprehensive, time-saving intelligence that saves time and saves lives.

Let’s look at how they do it.

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ROCKET by Utility™ (formerly RocketIoT) in-car communication platform.

In-Car Communications

Officers need fast, easy access to video and other data no matter their location out in the field. With in-car systems, they can tap into key information via tablet applications or web browsers that help them quickly start or stop recordings, view storage details or play back a recorded incident.

In-car systems provide mobile connectivity via a wireless access point. This includes a router that acts as local storage for all captured videos. It also provides a reliable internet connection for automatic wireless video offload.

A number of handy features help keep officers safer and more productive. For example, departments can create action zones, either manually or from CAD calls, that automatically trigger certain comms or video actions when officers enter a pre-defined geographical area. Vehicle diagnostic tools can also monitor a squad car’s engine performance, fluid levels and more in real time, drastically reducing the likelihood that an officer’s car will malfunction in the middle of an emergency.

 In-Car Video

Car-mounted video cameras have been indispensable for police officers. Their most obvious value comes in the courtroom, where video evidence can provide incontrovertible proof and settle differing accounts of what may have happened during a heated situation. Embedded video can also assist officers in their written case reports. Cameras tend to bolster officer safety, too, which is no small thing. And they can help allay concerns from the public around highly charged issues such as racial profiling.

Police in-car video technology has come a long way in a short time and is as feature-rich as ever. With advanced built-in digital video recording capabilities, officers can power up to four wide-angle cameras, enabling them to capture critical moments from multiple angles while also providing audio documentation of officers’ conversations should they be needed as evidence. The cameras also have settings for hand-held use.

It’s worth noting that, both for software-driven body-worn cameras and for in-car systems, video recording protocols can be set to match a department’s policies. They can, for example, be configured to automatically start or stop based on an agency’s specific recording policies, thereby promoting efficiency, transparency and accountability. Thanks to the latest vehicle sensors, in-car systems can make intelligent, configurable decisions about when to start and stop recording based on combinations of vehicle sensor events.

ROCKET by Utility™ Mobile ALPR (Automatic License Plate Recognition) camera systems.

Smart ALPR

Let’s not overlook another key aspect of the in-car comms ecosystem: Automatic License Plate Reader (ALPR) technology. Specialized ALPR cameras are often mounted to fixed outdoor locations or to patrol cars so law enforcement can capture every license plate that comes within view.

ALPR cameras can now accurately read 98% of vehicle license plates, a vast improvement from their origins several decades ago that makes them a central piece of the law enforcement puzzle. ALPR cameras can gather real-time evidence that enhances alerting capabilities in the moment when it matters most, helping law enforcement improve the speed and accuracy with which they can monitor and locate cars that have been connected with criminal activities.

These cameras scan license plate numbers as digital video so officers can pair plate data with time and location information. It is then uploaded into a constantly refreshed searchable database platform, providing a benefit for all law enforcement agencies in that area. This technology has also given a boost to response efforts around Amber Alerts for children who have been abducted as well as Silver Alerts for at-risk seniors.

Police Car Technology by Utility

Utility offers robust solutions for ALPR and in-car comms. ROCKET by Utility™ is a state-of-the-art, in-car communication platform that can impact the speed and accuracy with which police catch criminals.

About Utility, Inc.

At Utility, we believe in using technology to enhance transparency. We are a vertically integrated supplier of software-based solutions for body-worn cameras and in-car cameras to capture video evidence, as well as digital media evidence management and video redaction for managing and releasing video.

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