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Old 10-01-2012, 17:37   #1
SpoiledBySig
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Patrol video camera for DUI's?

Been looking for decent patrol video cameras for DUI's. State Attorney's Office is starting to refuse prosecuting DUI's without video of DUI Roadside sobriety Testing/Tasks on video.

I looked into the Hero Go Pro cameras, but I have been told it's got a fisheye lens and they are terrible at night (no real idea myself, just been told that).

There's got to be something to put or use in a Patrol Car, or two, that doesn't cost so much, considering today's technology?

Very small department. About 40 sworn officers. Any suggestions of where to start looking would be appreciated.
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Old 10-01-2012, 17:44   #2
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Get loaners of whatever system you are looking at and try them out for 30 days.

What works for one agency may be completely wrong for another agency.

A rural Sheriff's office or Highway Patrol needs a lower F/stop lens than does NYPD, LAPD, or an agency with lots of ambient lighting.
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Old 10-01-2012, 17:49   #3
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Get loaners of whatever system you are looking at and try them out for 30 days.

What works for one agency may be completely wrong for another agency.

A rural Sheriff's office or Highway Patrol needs a lower F/stop lens than does NYPD, LAPD, or an agency with lots of ambient lighting.
Very good suggestion. Very much appreciated.
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Old 10-01-2012, 17:51   #4
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Keep in mind a wide angle lens is almost mandated for capturing a wide scene. A wide angle lens is commonly mis-categorized as a fish eye lens and they are dissimilar.

A fish-eye lens is rarely used in anything except photographing interiors and by savvy realtors trying to make a room look much larger in photos. They have a distorted field of view and usually require aftermarket software to make images make sense to human eyes. This can cause problems with uninformed prosecutors, defense attorneys, and jurors.
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Old 10-01-2012, 17:53   #5
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Typical of lawyers. I'd love to see where the law states that it's required to be on camera. If they weren't so terrified of stepping into courtrooms, the system would work better.

[/rant off]

Are you looking more for in car cameras, or body worn? We use a panasonic system which works well for in car. I'll try to get the name of the cameras tonight for you.
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Old 10-01-2012, 18:01   #6
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We have been using Digital Ally for 5 years now. They can be downloaded by the officers at the sally port or a supervisor can use a key to swap memory sticks, so your agency can choose how they want to handle that.

I get a full week out of a memory stick and haven't had a single DUI case get lost yet. Used to happen all the time when we had Digital Patrollers.

They also have user adjustable zoom and focus and also a day/night mode depending on the lighting in your area.

My only complaint is the body mic is huge and the battery life fades dramatically with age.
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Old 10-01-2012, 18:01   #7
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Typical of lawyers. I'd love to see where the law states that it's required to be on camera. If they weren't so terrified of stepping into courtrooms, the system would work better.

There is no Law (in Florida) that says you have to have a roadside sobriety tasks/tests video. But, if State Attorney's are hesitant in taking the case...then I guess it's time to give them what they want.


Are you looking more for in car cameras, or body worn? We use a panasonic system which works well for in car. I'll try to get the name of the cameras tonight for you.

Sure do appreciate the effort(s). If a body worn camera can have enough lighting for a night time roadside sobriety test...it would do fine I reckon'.




I was just looking at this one, wondering if the lighting/position/angle would be good enough.

http://www.chiefsupply.com/4161-Veho...ng-Camera.aspx
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Old 10-01-2012, 18:03   #8
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We have been using Digital Ally for 5 years now. They can be downloaded by the officers at the sally port or a supervisor can use a key to swap memory sticks, so your agency can choose how they want to handle that.

I'll take a hard look at that one too. Thanks.
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Old 10-01-2012, 18:07   #9
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Look at this site and the introduction section. The original photo shows an uncorrected picture taken with a fisheye lens. If you roll your cursor over the photo, the software application is applied to the photo and it corrects the image so that it makes sense to the human eye and perception.

http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/fisheye-hemi.htm

After seeing this, you can see how a defense attorney could argue 'altered evidence' if a true fisheye lens were used on a still or video image. A wide angle lens will show as a normal wide image, similar to a person's binocular vision.
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Old 10-01-2012, 18:11   #10
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Originally Posted by SpoiledBySig View Post
I was just looking at this one, wondering if the lighting/position/angle would be good enough.

http://www.chiefsupply.com/4161-Veho...ng-Camera.aspx
The Muvi's are great and can save your butt in a pinch when out of view of your car camera, but I would not want to watch an entire battery of FST's on them, it would make me nauseous.

We had a bike officer make a DUI using one and it was hard to watch like it was filmed on a boat in rough seas.
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Old 10-01-2012, 18:16   #11
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Originally Posted by collim1 View Post
The Muvi's are great and can save your butt in a pinch when out of view of your car camera, but I would not want to watch an entire battery of FST's on them, it would make me nauseous.

We had a bike officer make a DUI using one and it was hard to watch like it was filmed on a boat in rough seas.

That sort of eliminates the Digital Ally body camera on their site that I was just looking at (it was impressive, but you have a good point regarding constant body movement driving everybody crazy during a Roadside Sobriety test). The Digital Ally still cameras (rear view mirror one and the other one) really do impress me. Now I have to make a call and see their pricing (a $200.00 dollars off coupon already tells me it's definitely over a grand).
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Old 10-01-2012, 18:17   #12
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Our state police uses the Digital Ally system. They work but the officers don't like them as well as the old VHS.
I've got one user with the Patrol Witness PWLite. It seems like a solid system.
http://www.lonestarpse.com/patrol-wi...ra-system.html
http://www.patrolwitness.com/applications/police/

My department has a couple of the 10-8 video systems. They work, but I really don't care for them. They seem about half baked. Excellent recordings, though. Wires are really, really small. Tough to connect some wires without breaking them. Documentation seemed like it was a bit lacking.
http://www.10-8video.com/
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Old 10-01-2012, 18:18   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blueiron View Post
Look at this site and the introduction section. The original photo shows an uncorrected picture taken with a fisheye lens. If you roll your cursor over the photo, the software application is applied to the photo and it corrects the image so that it makes sense to the human eye and perception.

http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/fisheye-hemi.htm

After seeing this, you can see how a defense attorney could argue 'altered evidence' if a true fisheye lens were used on a still or video image. A wide angle lens will show as a normal wide image, similar to a person's binocular vision.
I see your point (I think?). I wouldn't even want to introduce a fixed "fisheye lens" video into court. But that site sure impressed me regarding how they fixed the fisheye images.
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Old 10-01-2012, 18:24   #14
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Our state police uses the Digital Ally system. They work but the officers don't like them as well as the old VHS.
I've got one user with the Patrol Witness PWLite. It seems like a solid system.
http://www.lonestarpse.com/patrol-wi...ra-system.html
http://www.patrolwitness.com/applications/police/

My department has a couple of the 10-8 video systems. They work, but I really don't care for them. They seem about half baked. Excellent recordings, though. Wires are really, really small. Tough to connect some wires without breaking them. Documentation seemed like it was a bit lacking.
http://www.10-8video.com/

That Lonestarse link really impressed me (until I saw the price of the camera..like, $3000.00. At my city Department, since 1990 until I retired in 2004, we used VHS in car video systems.

I guess either we're going to have to spend some money, or take our chances on something cheap and lousy. I guess the body worn cameras are out of the picture (no pun intended).
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Old 10-01-2012, 18:27   #15
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The 10-8 systems is the least expensive "full-featured" system that I've found. And it's $1795 or so with the good mic.
I really like the PWLite system that I installed. That's what I would have in my unit if I can come up with the funds. I guess I need to sell a few more first.
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Old 10-01-2012, 18:29   #16
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We just switched to the Panasonic Arbitrator 360 Systems. They are amazingly clear. They automatically switch over to night vision, and download automatically when you're within 100 yards (? ) or so of HQ. They can be accessed through username and password from the computers inside HQ. You're also logged on to the system, from your in car computer, which helps review the stop, or incident. The mics are clear too even with traffic flying by at 60 + mph on a highway. I've had my body mic off a couple of times on MV stops, and the in car microphone has picked up everything. Amazing system. I couldn't tell you the price off hand. We used to have the Mobile Vision system. They recorded to VHS tapes. They weren't bad either, the problem is, no one had VCR's anymore. haha If you're going to get a camera system for the car, I would strongly suggest the Panasonic Arbitrator 360 system. Every PD in my area that has cameras, uses them.

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Old 10-01-2012, 18:29   #17
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It sounds like an older recycled VHS system or a Hi-8 system would be best for you right now.
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Old 10-01-2012, 22:56   #18
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We use WatchGuard and I have to say that I like them overall. We use the DV-1 system since the new 4RE are a bit on the expensive. The video is good, camera automatically switches from day to night view, audio quality is good and so is body mic range, and you can also record both cameras at the same time. The nicest thing IMHO is the fact that you can never really run out of tape since it has a hard drive and a DVD drive. It is constantly recording to the hard drive in the background and then starts writing to the DVD drive once you hit the lights. If you miss something, you can always use their Record After the Fact feature and retrieve any video that was recorded in the background. I would say that we usually can go back about a month or so with this feature.

I know that they do trial periods for departments and they will also sell you refurbished units at a discount price. Customer service is great with them. The few times that we have had problems with the system a quick call to them was all it took and they sent out replacement parts or a replacement unit within a day or two.

I would at least give them a call and get some prices on new and refurbished units.

http://watchguardvideo.com/dv1/overview
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Old 10-01-2012, 23:11   #19
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Wow, I didn't realize there were so many in car camera options out there. I still remember copying my 8mm tapes onto VHS for court.
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Old 10-02-2012, 01:49   #20
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Originally Posted by SpoiledBySig View Post
I looked into the Hero Go Pro cameras, but I have been told it's got a fisheye lens and they are terrible at night (no real idea myself, just been told that).
My kid has a GoPro he uses for videoing his parkour adventures. Great camera and excellent quality. They also have a case with a lens that gets rid of the fisheye.

That said, they aren't designed or well suited for what you are trying to do. I'd go with the guys suggesting a refurb VHS unit or something. We still have several old models in use and they work fine.

Also, don't forget about the possibility of getting a fed grant to pay for them if your city is tight. I don't know what's available, but I'm sure there are some on here who could point you in the right direction.
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Old 10-02-2012, 04:56   #21
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Been looking for decent patrol video cameras for DUI's. State Attorney's Office is starting to refuse prosecuting DUI's without video of DUI Roadside sobriety Testing/Tasks on video.
Seems like what you really need is a better prosecutor. Those who came before him have been getting convictions since my grandparents were born. Of course, that requires a prosecutor to do more than saying "watch this."
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Old 10-02-2012, 09:03   #22
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Glock Talk is keeping from getting to bed, so I'll keep it short.

Are we talking body worn camera or car camera here?

A good, digital car camera system is going to gost $3k-$5k fairly typically. There are cheaper systems and spendier systems. I have experience with Watchguard and L3/Mobile Vision digital systems.

Watchguard was "adequate", but we had issues with intermittent corrupted recordings that had to be recovered with special software. The small department I worked for at the time could not afford the infrastructure a digital system that stored video to a hard drive would take, so the DVD based system was a good way to get in to a digital camera without all of the back end work. They changed the body mic design three times between the first one we bought and the second one. I think that was just over a year. It took a lot of beggining to get them to comp us a matching body mic when the junk one the first system came with **** the bed. Overall they were easy enough to work with and I liked the menu system and so forth on the camera.

Current department is L3/Mobile Vision (as are at least two other agencies in the county). We just recently replaced our camera systems with the newest version, which is higher resolution. The quality is very good, the security, storage, and web based access are good. The body mics are good. Our biggest issue is that the larger resolution has led to greater recording file sizes, which coupled with wifi oversaturation and congestion, are killing are wireless uploads and forcing our supervisors to manually swap out a bunch of cards every shift. The back end infrastructure is significant. I believe that our "live" video server has 14TB of storage and they have a DVD writer spitting out several DVDs a day to archive footage. There are drawers full of DVDs and they have every piece of video ever recorded on the system, which goes back to maybe 2004 or 2005.

There are plenty of limitations to car camera systems. Fixed point of view being the most significant. The camera only sees what is in front of it. Narrow viewing angles contribute, but are necessary to keep things from distorting. Body mic performance is not always great. Perspective is difficult ("are you sure they missed heel to toe by more than a half inch there, officer?"). There are plenty of good things and plenty of negatives, too. More good than bad.

If you're considering body worn cameras, a truly "good" system is going to run $900-$1,000 per unit. When I refer to a good system, I am talking about build quality, durability, infrastructure, etc. The only two decent body worn systems that come right to mind are VieVU and AXON Flex. Both have back-end software packages to automate uploads, which many of the cheaper cameras don't. I am nearing the end of a trial of AXON Flex and am extremely pleased with the low light video capability. Better than any other video camera I have seen. I have made several drunk driving arrests while wearing it and the video is very good.

The downsides to body worn systems are also very numerous and the limitations of the systems are not always readily visible. For example, the field of view is still relatively limited, so things you see with your peripheral vision simply do not appear on the camera. I have a thread floating around on my experience with AXON Flex somewhere, as well.
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Old 10-02-2012, 18:16   #23
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Real great help from everybody here and even some PM's came in with good suggestions.

This morning I got with our Department's ID tech and we reviewed all the responses that I had so far. One thing we gladly discovered (thanks to Blue iron) is that many companies offer a 30 day free trial (what better way to really find out?).

Thanks for all the responses and we (ITTech and I) will consider all the suggestions...been a big help.
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Old 10-02-2012, 19:31   #24
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http://www.panasonic.com/business/ps...rator-360.aspx

That's the system we use.
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Old 10-02-2012, 23:02   #25
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Some things to think about for video:

1) Is it encrypted or tamper proof? That can and will be challenged by even a reasonably competent defense attorney.
2) Can the video be easily reviewed on current technology?
3) Does the camera have good low light capabilities? Most do not unless you are in a reasonably lit area.

I have used the VieVu for some time. Good camera meeting the above save low light.

However, it begs the challenge of your prosecutor being so incompetent that they need an electronic crutch. It seems your chief needs to address this with the prosecutor's office, or make them pay for the equipment. Through my experience and working with others that new prosecutors of the "me" generation have the mindset that if it isn't on video, they can't make things happen.
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