Beginning this week, the Arlington Police Department will begin issuing body cameras to all sworn officers, sergeants and lieutenants.
The cameras, a product named Bodyworn manufactured by Utility Associates of Decatur, Georgia, will be on some uniforms and in the field as soon as this week.
“It offers another perspective,” said Arlington Police spokesman Lt. Christopher Cook. “We’ve had dash cameras for some time when we’ve had some incidents, but a body camera is going to go exactly where the officer goes.”
The department is simultaneously launching a education campaign to inform the public about the cameras.
“Uniforms have been retrofitted to allow integration of the body-worn camera into shirts, jackets, and safety vests. The cameras are securely mounted to the inside of the garments and capture audio and video of citizen encounters that are required by policy,” the department said in a news release Thursday.
According to the manufacturer’s website, the cameras are actually Motorola smartphones that use the device’s GPS, acceleromotor and audio and video capability to determine when to record.
The company’s website said the cameras are the “most advanced police body camera on the market” and that the device can not only detect gunshots but call for backup and it can begin recording when it “sees” police lights in use.
About 150 officers are already equipped with the cameras, and the department says it hopes to have cameras on all sworn officers by the end of March 2018.
In all, the department will purchase 650 of the cameras.
The cameras were selected by the department after the city council approved the camera plan in the summer. The city is funding the cameras through a state grant of $225,000 and department funds.
The three-year contract for the Bodyworn cameras totals $1.47 million.