Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Importance of In-Vehicle Cameras

As a dealer of refurbished Panasonic Toughbooks utilized primarily in police cruisers, we are questioned quite often about vehicle cameras.  Do we sell them?  No, we do not, but the models of Toughbooks that we sell (such as the CF-29 and the CF-30) will easily support the software and hardware required for a camera.  And secondly, are they worth the money?  Absolutely!

Having a vehicle-mounted camera serves a great deal of functions.  The primary benefits of the vehicle mounted cameras are officer safety, increased professionalism, training, and homeland security.  We'll touch briefly on all of these topics...

Homeland Security
Although it is not generally viewed as an vehicle-camera, there are automated license plate readers.  These assist with the location of vehicles, as they are significantly more effective at monitoring license plates related to wants and warrants than an officer alone.

Increased Professionalism
Knowing that their actions can easily be reviewed because they were recorded, officers tend to be more likely to strictly adhere to the rules and regulations set forth by their department.  No one wants to be the spoof video of what not to do used in training classes.

As just mentioned, those videos of what to do and what no to do come from somewhere.  And there is no better way to teach new officers how to appropriately approach and interact with a subject than actual footage that shows what can happen in the field.

Officer Safety
Officer safety is two-fold.  By recording incidents as they occur, officers are protected against false claims of overly-assertive force or even abuse.  The cameras also record assaults taken against police officers.  Recently, an in-vehicle camera recorded the shooting of a Yolo County (CA) deputy, who regrettably did not survive.  Because of the recording, officers were able to apprehend the shooter, eliminating a cop-killer from the streets.

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