The Power of Body Cameras in 2022
Body cameras are designed for way more than just filming footage. Their capabilities increase officer connectivity and enhance a police department’s technology ecosystem as it continues to support transparency and trust with the community. In 2022 alone, BodyWorn cameras proved their importance time and time again.
On April 4, 2022, a teen girl was pulled over for driving erratically and given a warning. She proceeded to brag on social media that even though she failed a breathalyzer, the officer didn’t issue a DUI to get a date with her. This could have been a damming situation for law enforcement. Fortunately for the officer, the Automated Activation through CAD feature on BodyWorn automatically activated and ensured that the video was recorded during the incident to show a completely different story.
Police body cam Video from the interaction disputes her social media claims. It shows no indication that the deputy gave his number to her or pursued anything romantic. This situation is just one of the many instances where a police officer’s reputation, and possibly a job, was saved due to wearing a body camera. Body cameras can also help build trust in the community. Indeed, cameras are an independent witness⎯providing backups for all parties in a situation.
On February 27, 2022, two officers responded to a car accident a little after 10 PM. Body camera video reveals the officers attempting to keep the situation calm, even as it escalates. Suddenly the driver leaves his vehicle, starts to run, and eventually starts shooting at the officers following him. When a bullet hits one officer, officers call out for an officer down.
In this situation and many others that escalate quickly, the necessity of a body camera that won’t fall off and will turn on automatically when guns are removed from their holsters is critical. The second a gun is unholstered, the Smart Holster Sensor technology records when and how long the firearm remains out of its holster and logs it into the system⎯making a mark in the video that records precisely what time during the recording the gun was unholstered. Additionally, it sends real-time alerts with GPS coordinates to dispatch nearby officers when a backup is needed.
“Body cameras increase officer accountability. I think they provide valuable evidence. We’re going to automate as many processes as we can, so it takes the guesswork out of the officer when to activate them,” said Gahanna Police Chief Jeff Spence after equipping his police officers with BodyWorn body cameras.
On March 22, 2022, Cañon City police officers were called to the scene of a drug overdose. When they arrived, a woman was unresponsive and was losing color on her face. Ultimately the officers used four separate doses of Narcan to bring her back to life. While this is not an uncommon situation, having footage of the officers interacting with this woman and the community can now be used in training.
Utility’s BodyWorn cameras play an essential part in capturing footage for training. Their patented design prevents them from detaching, ensuring video evidence is captured and available when needed.
“Now with the BodyWorn, officers can use their camera and watch their video while they’re writing the report and see what happened. What could they have done differently? What did they do well? It works well for training, so our field training officers can review that with their new training deputies,” says Capt. Scott Behrns of OCSO’s investigations and administrative services division.
Yes, implementing a body-worn camera program is expensive and time-consuming. But the payoffs are 10-fold. They not only save money and person-hour in the long run, but they can also save lives.
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