Lake Charles Police Department switching to updated body camera technology

By Lindsey Thompson | November 5, 2020 at 7:01 AM CST – Updated November 5 at 7:01 AM

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) – The Lake Charles Police Department started using body cameras in 2016 and is now looking to upgrade its system.

The Lake Charles City Council voted to purchase body and car cameras with updated technology for the Lake Charles Police Department. These new cameras use a cloud-based system instead of a physical hard drive, making it easier to store footage.

The new cameras are made by a company called Utility, Inc., that makes intelligent software and hardware.

The cameras, called BodyWorn, look similar to a smartphone and stay on an officer at all times.

“That technology was back in 2015, 2016 and worked great during that time period, but as things evolve and technology evolves, Lake Charles Police Department has taken that added step, and we’re going to a new system,” said Deputy Chief Michael Nicosia of the Lake Charles Police Department. “This type of camera system offers advantages that the old system did not and has not.”

The main difference with the new system is cloud-based storage, which can hold an unlimited amount of data.

“All the information from the call or the events of the day are uploaded to a cloud instead of a hard drive system that our old system used.”

Another advantage of the new system is a longer battery life of 12 to 18 hours.

“The new system that we’re going to go to has a better operating time. With our old system, the cameras and the battery systems usually fade out between eight and 10 hours, where our officers work a 12-hour shift.”

The cameras use a smart feature that turns the camera on in certain instances, such as when an officer is in pursuit or goes down and is in need of backup.

“Whenever we have interaction with the public, one of our requirements is that officer activate his camera. Sometimes there’s a situation where the officer may not have the ability or have the quickness to hit his camera.”

Deputy Chief Nicosia says these cameras can help improve police interactions with the community, “We are always striving to better ourselves and to help our community.”

Also passed at Wednesday night’s council meeting: an extension for the city’s Hurricane Laura emergency ordinance through December 31.


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