Houston, TX, October 3, 2019 ─ North Channel Emergency Medical Services currently has 48 professionals wearing WOLFCOM body cameras and Deputy Director Jay Barkdull says they understand what these devices can do for them. Much like the South Lake EMS department, North Channel is an industry pioneer when it comes to using body cameras. They used in-unit cameras for many years prior to using body-worn cameras, further proving how much they value accountability and transparency between their professionals and patients.
North Channel has been using in-unit cameras for over 10 years but they realized they needed a better alternative. “By watching those [in-unit] videos, we saw we were missing valid information that was happening inside the house or inside the medical center. So, the decision was to migrate to include body cameras and integrate it with our in-unit video,” said Jay.
According to Mr. Barkdull, “the reason we went with it [Vision Body Cameras] was because it was light, the guys could clip it on, it doesn’t interfere with their work and it’s easy to use, on and off. We felt that something simple like that would help our guys get used to the body cameras.” But, as expected, the acceptance of having one more tool to carry wasn’t immediate. “At first, of course, they did not like the idea [of using body cameras]. But it didn’t take a month before we had a complaint from a patient and the body camera showed that the complaint against the paramedic was false,” said the Deputy Director. “They understood very well what the body cameras could do for them,” he added.
North Channel also uses the WOLFCOM Evidence Management System and Jay claims to like, among other features, the ability to upload videos of any format and from any source. “It uploads [files] well. I also like the fact that I can record anything and upload any videos to the database. I can take some of my videos from my Data911 video server and download it and then upload it into WEMS. And I can put all my body camera [footage] and my video together when I need to,” said Mr. Barkdull.
Luckily, obtaining budget for their body camera program was easy. “For us, it was [easy to obtain budget], because the cost wasn’t astronomical. We use 20 of the Visions [Body Cameras] and your WEMS software. We go by the 90-day retention period and we only retain stuff that we know needs to be retained longer for either a valid complaint that we’re going through or if there’s a request for law enforcement. We push the 8TB limit on our server and we’ll probably have to expand that in the future. For us, the cost wasn’t out of reach at all,” said Jay.
The Noth Channel EMS Deputy Chief recommends WOLFCOM to other departments. “I’ve already done that [recommend WOLFCOM]. South Lake, our sister department here, implemented your WEMS and the Visions last November. They came here and looked at what we were doing and I talked to them and recommended that they go this route because it was economical for them and it wouldn’t break the bank and that you guys should easily be able to work them,” said Billy.