Wearable Tech World Feature Article
January 15, 2016

Body Cameras and the Police: What Comes Next?

Recent events in American news have prompted and accelerated widespread efforts to put police body-mounted cameras on officers across the nation. This has been a contentious point for many in the public realm to consider because as citizens we value our privacy, but we also value our freedom from abusive police conduct. Body cameras will allegedly help citizens ‘police the police’. There is also a belief that once officers are equipped with these cameras, a lot of the controversy that takes place during police shootings and other uses of force will fade, because the video that is produced by the cameras will be able to tell the public and the court systems what exactly happened during the incidents in question.

There are some questions about the limitations of what body mounted cameras can do, but many see it as a welcome development. There are certain realities about dangerous situations that simply cannot be recorded. For example, a camera is unable to see things as the officer’s eyes do. The camera’s objective recall of an altercation may disprove an officer’s report, but a camera doesn’t have to remember a high-stress, one-sided version of accounts.  

There’s also a technical advantage to cameras; they have a better ability to see what the naked eye cannot, especially in low light conditions. In fact, the speed of a camera is quite different from the speed in which an officer might witness a situation. Accuracy is desired, but there is still context and interface issues that should always be considered. Additionally, cameras can only record in two dimensions, and cannot record the depth of field that is perceived by the officer’s human eye. It might be possible for the view of a camera to be blocked as well. Nonetheless, law enforcement departments are looking at a mass deployment of body mounted cameras for police officers across the country and the jury on how effective they are will be out there.

Direct View Holdings Inc. is one company at the heart of this law enforcement innovations wave. It has completed recent shipments of its high definition camera solution to three police departments across the country for live field testing. The underlying technology is critical to ensuring consistent and reliable recording under the dress of active duty. Departments will be looking for reliability and efficiency. This is an important step in the deployment of these cameras into the force, and there will be many operating procedures and test that the systems will be submitted to.  Once camera systems have gone through these phases and level of proof, the next step will be a widespread deployment to other interested law enforcement agencies across the United States.   

Edited by Kyle Piscioniere

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