Sometimes the headlines say it all. The Fontana Police Department in California recently announced body cameras as an essential part of their gear. Local media reported it as FPD "joining 21st century policing" with advanced tools.
That's what body cams have become today — advanced tools to help in better policing. The technology is being rapidly adopted
by agencies across the nation and will soon become a necessary part of
an officer's gear. Many law enforcement agencies hail them as tools to
enhance public safety and understanding.
Initially meant to appease
upset communities over questionable policing practices, body cameras
soon became a useful tool for officer safety as well. These
advanced body-worn cameras are designed to document incidents in
different and unbiased perspectives, which benefits officers and
Officers who use these
regularly have admitted that there has been a drop in not just the use
of force but also in the number of complaints against officers. It is no
wonder that body cameras are fast becoming mandatory for departments
across the country.
Axon's latest camera system
in Charlotte, North Carolina, makes usage simpler. The body camera and
in-car camera automatically turn on when the blue lights turn on. There
is no waiting, no hesitation, no deliberation — taking the burden off the officers. The cameras are also designed to automatically turn on if an officer draws a Taser or firearm.
Responding officers will have
their cameras turn on automatically with no action from the officer. In
tense emergency situations, this feature can be a boon for officers who
can now focus on the situation and not worry about breaking protocol.
The collective footage from all officers at the scene can offer multiple
perspectives of the same incident for the authorities and
But companies are still innovating. In the near future, we
may see the human heartbeat come up in the footage as well. Since
respiration and pulse go up under stress, the camera in future would
record these vitals to signal the headquarters when officers are in
trouble and need help.
like Jersey City, New Jersey, are not letting the budget get in the
way. They are the first to test the viability of using cellphone cameras
as an affordable alternative to body cams. Officers on patrol, pursuing
a suspect or in any community interaction will strap on gear that will
include a body camera in a cellphone.
The police-issued cellphone will be set to a mode to function
as a cop camera. When turned on, the recorded footage will directly
stream onto a secure server at the police department. The app that will
use the less-expensive method, CopCast, comes from Google's sister
The latest body camera technology is meant to strengthen
officer accountability and public trust. Some departments have been
quick to adopt this technology, while others are slowly getting budget
Sooner than later, officers from coast to coast will need to wear them when on duty.
Bambi Majumdar has been writing for various industries for more
than 17 years. She has contributed articles to The Economic Times, the
leading financial daily of India, among others. She loves research,
business analysis, SEO, brand strategy and knowledge management, which
paves the way for a steep learning curve.