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 publics know they are being recorded.

Fact 3: Most Agencies Don’t Want Night Vision.

Not every department likes body cameras equipped with automatic night vision because they want cameras to show only what the officer was able to see at the moment the footage was being recorded. Night Vision will always show more then what an officer actually saw. For example, a video recorded with night vision may show that the officer shot a suspect that was only holding a cellphone. To the officer, in the dark and under stressful conditions, he may have seen what looked like a weapon. It would be improper and unfair to show that video in court as the jury would not be able to accurately comprehend the difficult decision the officer had to make under the most stressful conditions.

Fact 4: Police Can’t Use A GoPro

For a body camera to be considered law enforcement grade, it has to have non-removable SD cards to prevent tampering of recorded video, be able to record with just 1 press of a button or switch, and have its own docking station for charging and uploading files. It also has to have a secure mount that is both comfortable to the officer and easy to activate.

Fact 5: Higher Video Quality is Not Always Better.

Although common sense tells us that higher resolution is always preferable, anything above 1080p is considered unnecessary when it comes to police body cameras. Higher resolution leads to heavier files and create storage issues for departments. When it comes to video resolution, the sweet spot is 720p. It may be lower than 1080p quality but is still HD (High Definition) recording.

Fact 6: Police Officers Can’t Delete Videos.

One of the main reasons police agencies purchase and wear body cameras is to promote transparency with the public. What would be the point of all that if an officer can simply delete videos from their body camera? Law Enforcement grade body cameras prevent an officer from deleting files by having on-board non-removable memory that is either password protected, encrypted, or both.

Fact 7: Police body cameras are always recording but not really

Unlike action cameras, police body cameras have a feature called “Pre-Record” that ensures the cameras are recording at all times. This feature makes sure the body camera records all the action even if the officer forgets to turn it on. With Pre-Record, the body camera is recording in a 60-second loop. The camera continuously rewrites new video over the previous 60 seconds in a non-stop loop. This process is called “Buffering”. When an officer activates his camera, the previous 60 seconds are saved. In the event an officer forgot to turn on his camera, the pre-record feature allows him up to a minute to remember and activate his camera. Some police body cameras like the WOLFCOM Vision camera allows up to 30 minutes of buffering time. The Pre-Record feature also has a very low battery consumption rate when compared to a body camera that is on and recording normally all the time.

Fact 8: Police Body Cameras Need Docking Stations

Body Cameras need a place to rest after a long day of recording. At the end of a shift, an officer simply docks his body camera into a docking station. Once docked, all videos are then uploaded into an Evidence Management System. Once the upload is completed, all data on the camera is deleted and the docking station begins charging the body camera for the next day’s use.

Fact 9: Body cameras generate a lot of data

Imagine recording an average of 2 to 3 hours of 1080p video every single day, now multiply that by the number of officers in a department. The result is a massive amount of video, audio and image files in one single day. And how do officers manage all these digital assets? The best, most professional way is using an evidence management software (EMS). Most legitimate body camera companies offer their own versions of these softwares, which allow officers to tag, classify, edit, bookmark, delete and do much more with these files, saving departments a lot of time and resources.

Fact 10: Battery life is a bigger problem than you would think

One of the biggest obstacles holding back advancements in body camera technology is battery life. Battery technology has evolved slowly over the last decade forcing body camera manufacturers to build body cameras around the lifespan of the battery they intend to use. Police officers work long shifts that require extended battery operation. Emerging technologies like Facial Recognition, Live Streaming, and 4G/5G cellular connections require significant battery power. Body cameras that are being made to be smarter and working on an IOT environment demand high capacity batteries to function for at least 12 hours. This poses a problem to police body camera manufactures. Making a body camera with a 12-hour battery life would result in a body camera that is too big and heavy making it impractical for police work. On the other hand, making a small lightweight body camera that’s comfortable to wear would result in a camera that has only a few hours of battery life. Not enough for an entire shift and also not practical for police work. These are the challenges body camera manufacturers face and until battery technology evolves, cameras will only be limited to the power it can harness.

Click here to contact the police body camera experts to learn more.

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, also equipped with In-car cameras.

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Police In-Car Camera Systems Are Now More Advanced Than Ever

Police in-car cameras have been around for a while, but only recently companies started integrating them with body-worn cameras and evidence management software. This integration creates a thorough, easy-to-use system, known as a Total Solution. These solutions allow users to wirelessly connect video recording devices in order to save officers precious time while making sure they don’t forget to turn their cameras on when under stressful situations.

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The Truth about Wirelessly offloading In-Car Camera videos

Our In-car camera systems completely integrate with our body cameras and Evidence Management Software to become a complete end-to-end video solution for your agency.

Wi-Fi Offload:

Our In-car systems do offer wireless offloads via Wi-Fi but our experience and feedback from customers of our competitors show that Wi-Fi offload is not reliable. This is why we recommend manual offloading, which means the officer has to bring the encrypted memory card in from the patrol car and dock it into the Evidence Management System. Since the officer will be docking his body camera to the Evidence Management System anyways, this will be a simple, faster, and more reliable process.

The challenge with Wi-Fi is that you’ll need to set up a very strong Wi-Fi extender at the parking lot where the patrol cars are parked. Depending on how far away your patrol cars are parked, signal strength will vary and a weak signal will result in extremely long upload times.

If you intend to use your current wireless network connection, then be prepared for slow data transfers and slow internet access throughout all the PC’s in your department as bandwidth is maxed out, especially when multiple patrol cars are uploading videos at the same time. If you’re offloading to the cloud, expect internet access throughout your entire department to be frustratingly slow.

For a successful wireless offloading system to work, it's better to have a dedicated wireless network solely for the In-car systems. However, this will add extra costs, especially if you're uploading to the cloud as you’ll need a separate dedicated internet line with very high bandwidth.

Manual Docking of the memory cards taken from the In-car systems is the most reliable and fastest way to offload video. 

mini mdvr in-car system

Since your officers will be coming in to dock their body cameras anyways, they might as well dock the memory cards, too.

Just like our body cameras, the memory cards of our In-car camera systems are encrypted and can not be accessed or deleted, giving you the confidence that your chain of custody stays intact.

 

 

 

 

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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New California Senate Bill 1421 and How WOLFCOM Can Help Your Department Save Time and Money

California Senate Bill 1421 went into effect on January 1st, allowing citizens to obtain any recordings of high-profile cases made by police officers, which must be delivered from 10-14 days of the date it was requested. As most law enforcement officers know, police departments must redact all faces on videos in order to release them out to the public, meaning all departments must have a quick and easy way to redact videos in order to comply with the new bill. The new WOLFCOM Video Redaction Software is the perfect solution for departments looking to redact entire videos in a matter of seconds. Our software is able to automatically identify and redact all faces with a few clicks, making sure officers don’t have to spend their valuable time performing tasks such as this. Click here to learn more about our easy-to-use Video Redaction Software and all the ways it can help your department save precious time and money.

Font: https://www.calpublicagencylaboremploymentblog.com/public-safety-issues/tips-for-responding-to-sb-1421-requests/

 

Study Shows Body Camera Footage Directly Influences Our Judgement of Blame

Police body cameras have been around for a few years now and, since then, it’s helped an incredible number of officers get justice. A recent study shows that body cameras are, indeed, extremely effective when it comes to judgment of intent. In other words: people who watch body camera footage are less likely to blame the wearer. But the reason for that isn’t as obvious as people think.

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Dickson, Tennessee Police Department gets WOLFCOM Body Cameras

DICKSON, TN- The Dickson Police Department recently ordered a total of 34 WOLFCOM VISION Police Body Cameras.

“We’re happy the Dickson Police Department chose our WOLFCOM VISION police body cameras for their patrol officers. Police officers need body cameras now more than ever. They need a 3rd eye to see and remember what they forgot and to be the truth behind false accusations when they need it the most”, said WOLFCOM founder Peter Austin Onruang.

Lt. Todd Christian helped his department research police body cameras and make the decision to choose the WOLFCOM VISION.

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Why Purchase WOLFCOM’s Complete Packages for 6 to 12 Officers

The body camera culture has been growing stronger with each passing day within the law enforcement community in the United States. Although this is great news for citizens and officers, not every police department can afford high-quality body camera solutions. Most of the hardware and software offered by the leading American companies in this industry seem to be out of reach for an alarming number of departments, and this is where WOLFCOM comes in. We understand the importance of offering high-quality solutions at an affordable price to small departments that can’t afford to spend an unnecessary amount of money on these tools.

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