Who Pays for Police Body Cameras?

There are many misconceptions when it comes to who actually pays for police body cameras. Police departments have 2 budgets throughout the whole year and have to make them last for all 12 months. Most times, these budgets are tight, not leaving any money for extra expenses. So, who pays for police body cameras?

Let’s start with the ideal but not-so-frequent way: Police Seizures. Departments, sometimes, are sitting on a pile of items that were confiscated through Civil Forfeiture. When that’s the case, agencies can sell these material possessions on government auctions for a much lower price than current market value and turn them into funding. Considering that’s something that doesn’t happen too often, that route is the least likely out of all the options listed in this article.

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When did Body Cameras Start in the U.S.?

Just like any other new technology, body cameras went from extraordinary to mundane in a matter of a couple of years. In fact, it became such usual devices in our lives, most people watch police body camera videos on a constant basis and don’t think to ask themselves when or why these devices came into existence. So, when did body cameras start in the U.S.?

To better understand the reasons behind the development of this ingenious device, we need to think back to 2011. Up until that year, civilians had no way to prove any claims they made against police officers and vice versa. Some companies had enough and decided to come up with a solution to that, and that’s when police body-worn cameras came into existence. It was all a matter of combining and reapplying existing technologies.

wolfcom 3rd eye police camera
The 3rd Eye was one of the first police body cameras in the US!

Of course, the first versions developed were very different than the ones we currently have in the market. They were bulky, heavy, and lacked many important features officers need on a daily basis. After many years of gathering feedback, manufacturers have perfected these devices, making them ideal for police use. With technology evolving at such a fast pace, it’s now easier than ever to have small but feature-packed devices for a fraction of the price.

Click here to learn more about our Halo Police Body Camera and its packages, the most complete and affordable body camera packages in the market!

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. So, where are body cameras worn?

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 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 majority of the departments across the United States. But why isn’t it in all of them? The reason for that is simple: a complete body camera solution can cost up to tens of thousands of dollars. That reason alone makes 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.

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?

The majority of police department in the United States use body cameras but laws about these devices remain a mystery for many. 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”.

Model: Vision police body camera

Thanks to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), yes, photos and videos taken with police body 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 subject 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 cameras aren’t exactly the most affordable devices out there 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 why body cameras are worth the cost. But the explanation 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, each body camera can save up to $3,000 per officer, annually. Multiply that by the number of officers in a department, that’s a potential saving of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Looking at it from this perspective, it’s easy to see why body cameras are worth the cost. It’s no wonder these devices have become mandatory in the vast majority of police departments 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 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. Those states allow recording 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 police body cameras 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 came out with our own conclusions. After all, what are the pros and cons of police body cameras?

Pros:

  • Body cameras promote transparency: they record every interaction officers have, telling nothing but the truth 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. One of the most commonly asked questions is “are police body cameras always on?”. 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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