Houston, TX, September 23, 2019 – Paramedic Supervisor Billy Slagle from South Lake Houston Emergency Medical Service has recently shared his department’s experience with the WOLFCOM Vision Body Cameras and WOLFCOM Evidence Management System. South Lake EMS currently has a total of 30 professionals using WOLFCOM body cameras.
According to Billy, a nearby EMS department uses WOLFCOM body cameras and told them about it. “One of our neighboring departments was using them [Vision body cameras] and we liked the feedback for it,” said Mr. Slagle. “We liked the cameras that they used, we liked the setup that they used, so we went ahead and got them,” he added.
Change is, usually, unwelcome at first, and it wouldn’t be any different with implementing body cameras to the EMS industry. “Body cameras in EMS are very, very, very, very new. For our area, the whole Houston area, there are only 4 departments that are using body cameras, so it’s a very new procedure for us. Of course, when we started getting these body cameras, the department members weren’t really excited about it, initially. As the whole program progressed, everybody is really, really happy with them. It takes a lot of the complaints out of things because, basically, video doesn’t lie,” said Billy. “From a department standpoint, to help our employees, and to help the department, it’s worked out wonderfully for us. Every complaint that we’ve ever had since we started using our body cameras has been debunked. It [body cameras] has saved us every single time we got a complaint,” he added.
Mr. Slagle says size plays the main role in why the Vision Body Camera works so well for his department. “I like the size of them for what we use, for our uniforms. That’s why we really like the Visions. They are small, they are compact, they are portable,” said Billy. “For the most part, they are pretty cost-effective, so if one of them gets destroyed or broken or whatever, and we need to replace them, it’s not a terrible cost endurance to replace the cameras,” he added.
The South Lake Houston EMS department also uses the WOLFCOM Evidence Management System and Billy claims to like it. “I like the way you can assign cameras to people. So, I can assign a camera to John Doe and I can look up John Doe and find out every call and every run he’s made to be able to view that footage,” said Billy. “It helps finding footage easier,” he added.
Mr. Slagle claims it wasn’t difficult for his department to obtain budget for his body camera program. “For us, it was [easy to obtain budget], fortunately. We had money and a budget to be able to do it. That may not be for everybody because the initial cost is pretty pricey. But if it’s something that you want, you can budget for it and, hopefully, be able to get the funds. It just kinda depends on your department,” said Billy.
Billy foresees the use of body camera rapidly growing in the next few years. “In the EMS community, we’re starting to gain traction. There’s technically no congressional laws written for body cameras on EMS. It’s all body cameras for police officers. Here in the state of Texas, we’re starting to get noticed, the body camera program. I see it evolving substantially over the next 4 to 5 years. I think it’s gonna be more of a common thing for EMS [professionals] to start wearing body cameras,” said Mr. Slagle. “Anybody who asks what camera system we use, I would definitely recommend WOLFCOM,” he added.
Mr. Slagle even offered to help other EMS departments with any doubts about starting their own body camera programs. “If anybody needs help or have any questions, you can certainly reach out to myself or North Channel EMS, which is the other company who uses WOLFCOM body cameras. We are kinda heading up the movement for body cameras in EMS right now. But don’t be afraid to do it. It’s definitely an investment worthwhile,” said Billy.