The West Lafayette Police Department has signed a new equipment contract to update its body-worn camera technology.
Chief Jason Dombkowski says technology from Utility Associates, Inc. incorporates different applications, such as location tracking and safety features.
“An officer down feature – basically a cell phone – it goes vertical, it senses that and it sends an alert to dispatch and every officer working that we have an officer down,” he says.
Dombkowski says the company is also developing an application that would identify shots fired and the type of gun used based on the sound.
Utility Associates, Inc. will also outfit police cruisers with new camera technology.
He says the technology meets a community-set standard of openness.
“I think it makes us even more accountable and more transparent,” Dombkowski says. “It does offer a quicker turnaround time on redactive video when we get public records requests.”
A body cam video must be edited by an officer if it needs redacting — for example, blocking out a minor or a victim’s face.
Dombkowski says the new software includes a facial recognition feature that doesn’t require an officer to redact frame-by-frame, which saves considerable time.
The body cams are set to be fully operational by mid-August, and the vehicle cameras will follow.
In the new contract, the vendor is responsible for updating the technology every three years.
Dombkowski says the department’s last supplier – VIEVU — came under new management and fell “behind the curve” with technological advancements to the body cams.