Wearable Tech World Feature Article
August 13, 2013

Police Departments Leverage Wearable Tech to Keep an Eye on Officers

It isn’t hyperbole to say that we are approaching a new ‘Age of Awareness’ based on the direction wearable technology is going. Indeed, the recently wrapped up Wearable Tech Expo had a number of cutting edge solutions and gadgets on display, from headsets to glasses to smart watches and clothing and beyond.

No matter the type of device, though, there seems to be one prevailing theme: video. Whether it’s Google Glass allowing users to record everything they see, or something more conventional, a lot of wearable devices make it easy to document nearly every occasion.

For some, this is nothing more than an invasion of privacy, but there are some situations where this is necessary. Take, for example, a police officer out on patrol. It’s already common practice to record all traffic stops from a camera mounted on police cruisers’ dash, after all.

Recently, the Richmond County Sherriff’s Office in Augusta, Ga., began leveraging wearable technology to keep better track of officers out on duty, according to The Augusta Chronicle. Specifically, officers are now using a Muvi body camera clipped at chest level to create more detailed video records of traffic stops and other interactions with the public.

Deputy Stephen Jones, who has worn a test Muvi unit for around two weeks, praised the device as a method of vindication, stating, “You can upload the videos, download them to a CD and turn them in as evidence to rectify any kind of complaints against you.”

Other police departments in the U.S. have implemented similar programs, such as the Waynesboro Police Department of Virginia, where all sworn officers are equipped with cameras by policy. This ensures that all officers maintain professional conduct at all times.

Indeed, having an up-close eye on a situation is more effective than the long-distance angle provided by dash-mounted cameras. Best of all, since the technology used in such wearable tech devices is now much cheaper than even two years ago — some departments are spending as little as $100 to $200 per unit — police departments can implement these measures without drastically affecting their bottom lines.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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