BY DAN REIDY | Spectrum News 1
DALTON, Mass. – The Dalton Police Department is in their first week of using their new BodyWorn by Utility cameras. Chief Deanna Strout demonstrated some of the ins and outs of the devices, like linking to their new cruiser cams.
“Say you turn your lights on, the camera will automatically just kick on as soon as you hit the lights,” Strout said. “And if you don’t have your lights on and you reach a certain speed, it will also kick on. This has so much more technology that we really like.”
What You Need To Know
The Dalton Police Department is now using body cameras with settings to automatically record while responding to calls
Dalton police fully rolled out the use of the BodyWorn by Utility cameras last week
The cameras have many features including sending alerts out when an officer may be in distress, scanning licenses and linking with the new cameras in the Dalton police cruisers
The department has 16 cameras funded by a grant from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security
Similar to any new device, Strout said there’s a bit of a learning curve, but the new technology is meant to enhance policing. Many body cameras rely on officers manually turning the device on and off; this step is eliminated for Dalton officers.
“It takes out a lot of that operator error,” Strout said. “If the officers are in a stressful situation, don’t think to hit the record button on their device, they don’t have to because it’s done automatically for them.”
The cameras can also be turned on manually with what looks like a smartwatch, but the automation feature will be used often.
“When they get out of the door with the blue lights, our camera will turn on,” Strout said. “Dispatch, when they enter a call, as soon as they enter the call, the officers’ cameras will turn on automatically. We also have holster sensors, so if a firearm is drawn, camera turns on automatically.”
Strout said the positive impact of having the cameras is two-pronged and helps improve the safety of everyone in Dalton.
“It really builds our public trust in our community that, hey, we know we’re doing good things, so we have no issues having body cams, cruiser cams, to show transparency and that we are doing the right thing,” Strout said.
“But it also protects our officers as well. So, you know, if someone makes a complaint or someone – we can review that footage and get actual footage of what happened as opposed to just he said she said, you know, something like that. So, I think it protects everyone.”