New Body Cameras for Police
Body cameras on police can be critical to analyzing what really happens during a conflict. Video can make police departments stronger by protecting officers from false accusations while weeding out aggressive cops. But in the heat of the moment, activating a device isn’t first instinct.
Stockton police are making body cameras easier to use by upgrading to a new system that is constantly filming in 30-sec increments, then overwriting footage when cameras stay inactive. The critical 30 seconds of always-on buffer gives officers a chance to activate filming once a situation demands it.
Training is still a critical piece of body cam usage, says Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones. The cameras still rely on the officers’ familiarity with the technology and a reflexive training to activate the cameras appropriately. “We have to work on and reduce what we call ‘human error,’ which is not just the muscle memory, but also recognizing human factors, such as stress,” Jones told Government Technology. “When someone is under stress, are they going to remember to activate a button? That’s where we have to really focus on the muscle memory, and that’s where technology meets manual skills.”
The new technology came with the full support of officers and their union. While documenting police interactions is often demanded by the public, video evidence is important to police, too, when they need to defend themselves from false accusations.
In total, Stockton is purchasing 250 cameras from VIEVU, at a cost of $250,000. Read more at Government Technology.