Where are Body Cameras Worn?

The number of police body camera manufacturers grows larger and larger with each passing day. Each company has its own camera designs and features, and it couldn’t be any different with mounting capabilities. 

Although almost every police body-worn camera comes with a standard alligator clip that allows the camera to be mounted on the center of the uniform shirt or vest, some manufacturers go the extra mile to offer more mounting capabilities to the men and women who risk their lives to protect us. 

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Are Police Body Cameras Mandatory?

Police body-worn cameras have been around for almost a decade, but one question still intrigues civilians: are police body cameras mandatory?  

The use of body cameras is mandatory in the vast majority of the departments across the United States, but not in all of them. And the reason for that is simple: a complete body camera solution can cost up to tens of thousands of dollars, making these systems unattainable for many small and medium-sized agencies.

Police body-worn cameras have saved countless officers’ careers and have brought to light many issues concerning police misconduct. It’s a tool designed to bring justice to all and should be of mandatory use in all law enforcement agencies all around the country. 

Click here to learn more about the most affordable police body camera systems made by an American company in the market.

Are Police Body Camera Footages Public Record?

Body cameras are now used by the majority of police departments in the United States but the laws about these devices remain a mystery for many civilians. One of the most asked questions is: are police body camera footages public record? The answer to that is yes, but there’s a “but”.

Thanks to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), yes, photos and videos taken with police body-worn cameras are public record. Any civilian can ask for any digital evidence recorded with these devices at any time. But will it be provided to them instantly? That’s where it gets complicated. Police departments need to review every single file before releasing it to the public. If these files contain any faces, these need to be blurred (redacted) in order to not violate any private individual’s privacy. That’s a tedious job that requires a massive amount of time from police officers. Only then are these videos allowed to be released to the public, which could mean days. Luckily, some police body camera manufacturers already offer a complete evidence management software for police departments that features automatic smart redaction, a service that’ll save departments a lot of time by blurring out faces at the click of a button in a matter of seconds.

Police body cameras were created to serve the people. It would be pointless for these files to not be available to the general public. But, as explained in this article, there’s a lot more to that than meets the eye.

Click here to learn more about Automatic Smart Redaction and how it could save your department money and countless hours of work.

Are Body Cameras Worth the Cost?

Police body camera systems aren’t exactly the most affordable pieces of hardware around but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth paying for. Research shows police body cameras actually save departments money, and here’s why.

Police officer with body camera writing a ticket.

It might be difficult for the average person to comprehend how these devices can actually save departments money, but the answer to that is simple: the use of police body-worn cameras has shown to significantly drop complaints of police misconduct and use of force, as well as fewer litigations and investigations. According to this study, after deducting the cost of the body camera itself, each one of these devices can save up to $3,000 per officer, annually. Multiply that by the number of officers in a large department, that’s a potential saving of hundreds of thousands of dollars every year.

Looking at it from this perspective, the use of body cameras by police officers is a no-brainer. It’s no wonder these devices have become mandatory in the vast majority of police departments and law enforcement agencies all around the United States.

Click here to learn more about our Complete Body Camera Packages that’ll help your department save thousands of dollars every year!

Are Body Cameras Legal?

The use of body cameras by police officers has always been an extremely controversial subject. Many arguments against it are compelling, but the most difficult one to answer is: are body cameras legal?

While recording in public is legal in most parts of the United States, some states make it a little more difficult. The majority of the states allow recording of video and audio in public places because, obviously, those are public areas, which means you can what you please as long as you’re not infringing any laws or other people’s rights. In those states, recording is allowed even if you’re in privately-owned businesses as long as there are no signs up prohibiting such activities.

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Police Body Cameras Pros and Cons

When body-worn cameras for law enforcement officers first came out, there was a lot of speculation about the effectiveness of these devices. Nowadays, with plenty of research and controlled field experiments, it’s easy to objectively analyze all the data and point out all the pros and cons of these cameras. We’ve taken the time to do such task and here are our conclusions:

Pros:

  • Body cameras promote transparency: with body-worn cameras record every interaction an officer has, making sure every story is told from beginning to end
  • Body cameras save departments time and money: lawsuits, investigations, and litigations cost a lot of money. Departments that equip their officers with body cameras can save hundreds of thousands of dollars every year by preventing these situations
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Police Body Camera Facts

Although police body cameras have been around for almost a decade, they are still considered unknown territory by the vast majority of the population. This article includes interesting and relevant facts about police body cameras you probably didn’t know (but should)!

Fact 1: Lens Angle is Important.

Most Law enforcement agencies prefer body cameras lenses of up to 120°. Anything above that will start to distort the image, causing the so-called fisheye effect.

Fact 2: People Behave When They are on Camera.

In 2014, the first-ever study conducted about the effects of police body cameras found that citizen complaints dropped 88% among officers equipped with cameras. Body cameras successfully de-escalate situations because the public knows they are being recorded.

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Are police body cameras always on?

The use of body cameras as a law enforcement tool has become widely accepted and encouraged throughout the United States, but it still raises many questions among civilians. The most commonly asked question is “are these devices constantly recording?”. And the answer to that varies according to each department’s policies.

WOLFCOM Halo Police Body Camera designed specifically with law enforcement officers in mind

There’s a lot more involved in that question than simply turning the body camera on and off. When officers record entire shifts uninterruptedly, they end up with large video files. These files require storage solutions with much more capacity, making this practice more expensive. Seeing as most police departments are underfunded, that route is far less popular than simply turning the cameras on when officers have interactions with the public. Besides, most officers spend a large amount of their shifts in their vehicles, which are, usually, equipped with In-car cameras.

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All body camera solutions are not made equal: how the WOLFCOM solutions are more affordable and efficient

A recent article revealed that some police departments in the United States are dropping their body camera programs because of high costs. Some companies take advantage of police agencies by holding their data hostage, charging overage fees, and presenting departments with expensive unpredictable invoices. This makes the entire industry look bad. It also proves that not every department is aware of all the options they have when it comes to body camera solutions, otherwise, they would know that WOLFCOM offers solutions at half the cost of other American companies, such as Axon or WatchGuard.

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When will Emergency Medical Technicians start wearing body cameras?

Law enforcement agencies all around the world have been benefiting from the use of body cameras for years, helping cities save thousands of dollars on litigations and settling cases out of court. Officers who wear body cameras face fewer investigations and complaints from the public, making their jobs less stressful while possibly saving their careers as false accusations are now easily disproved. Devices such as these can be extremely useful for Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) as they often face similar issues to those that law enforcement officers do when it comes to dealing with citizens.

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