In Evansville, Indiana, every patrol and uniformed specialty unit officer has been issued a FirstVu HDbody camera. They wear it on the front of their jacket and record their interactions with the public during any official police functions, whether self-initiated or dispatched. Officials expect the number of complaints against officers and use of force to drop dramatically.
After only 10 days of use, recordings had already been used to exonerate officers in 2 separate complaints. "About 95% of officers wearing them were exonerated during internal affairs investigations if they had it on video. We've only had them on the streets for less than two weeks and we've already seen that happen here," said Sgt. Jason Clegg with EPD. "We had a complaint about an officer being discourteous and treating a female as a second class citizen basically. We were able to watch the video and show that was not the case. Then actually call her and say your statements were inaccurate and we have the video to back that up."
Community leaders requested the cameras after Officer Clegg recorded an encounter when officers detained a firefighter in 2013. The video allowed investigators to see Clegg did not violate any policies despite claims of improper actions.
The Evansville police department selected Digital Ally’s FirstVu HD following a 60-day evaluation of the major body cameras on the market. Testing included product durability, versatility, ease of use, battery life, video and sound quality, upload and download speeds, and the data storage requirements for a typical officer’s daily shift.
"Storage space and battery life," Sgt. Cullum emphasized, "that they are confident that if they have to record the very first thing they do at their shift, they will still have storage and battery at the end of their shift. We don't want a guy going 'well, I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to get something at 9:30 at night if I started at 3:30 in the afternoon.'"
In Greenwood, Missouri, officers have been making good use out of the FirstVu HD’s video and audio recording quality. "We're able to spot evidence, even in the videos. Every once in a while we'll see something in the vehicle that the officer didn't see. So they're great for us," Greenwood Police Chief Greg Hallgrimson said. "If there's any dispute later, or somebody recants on the statement that they give, we have it right there on video."
Greenwood officers wear the cameras clipped to their vests for training, DWI arrests, investigating domestic assaults and more. "[It is used] to protect the officers, to protect the crime scene and to document evidence," said Hallgrimson. Since GPD began using them in August of 2013, the cameras have become an invaluable asset, and are particularly useful considering the abundance of cell phone cameras.
"As opposed to somebody filming us doing something, now we have our own film that's going to completely cover everything we need to from a legal standpoint," Hallgrimson said. "You're going to hear exactly what he hears and see what he sees."
About Digital Ally, Inc.
Digital Ally provides a complete line of vehicle video systems integrated into a rear-view mirror, utilizing compact monitor controllers, or laptops/MDCs; compact video systems that may be worn or mounted; a digital video flashlight; and LIDAR handheld speed enforcement systems.