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Patrol video camera for DUI's?

Discussion in 'Cop Talk' started by SpoiledBySig, Oct 1, 2012.

  1. Bren

    Bren NRA Life Member

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    Jan 16, 2005
    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."
  2. DaBigBR

    DaBigBR No Infidels!

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    Oct 28, 2005
    Circling the wagons.
    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.

  3. SpoiledBySig

    SpoiledBySig Millennium Member

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    May 6, 1999
    Port St. Lucie, FL
    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.
  4. RocPO


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    Sep 10, 2009
    Stacked up on your door
  5. Morris

    Morris CLM

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    Apr 15, 2001
    North of Seattle, South of Canada
    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.
  6. wrangler_dave9


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    Jun 10, 2012
    St. George, UT
    Not an officer yet, but I know the local sheriff's office uses the L3 system that has already been mentioned. great system from what I've seen from ride-a-longs and volunteering in the evidence room. System automatically uploads videos to the server over wifi when within range. Also, after the stop is completed, you can categorize the video (arrest, citation, pursuit) and there is an individual folder for each officer's video which is then organized by day than category. Not sure on price, but definitely worth looking at.

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    Last edited: Oct 6, 2012