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June 25, 2008
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Product Roundup: In-car Video

Ed Note: PoliceOne recently ran a technology feature about “the good, the bad, and the techie” of in-car video systems and reader response has been great. We thought, what the heck, “let’s take an even longer look at some more of the options available to law enforcement organizations.” 

In-car video systems increasingly fall into two camps: manual data transfer and wireless data transfer. While wireless transfer solutions offer some distinct advantages with regard to evidence chain (such as the Mobile Vision Flashback and Panasonic Arbitrator covered in a P1 Exclusive you can read here), hard drive and DVD options remain popular in many jurisdictions. Among those in use today are the Shadow 800 from Decatur, the True View PLUS system from MPH, the WatchGuard DV-1, Digital Ally’s DVM system, and the Digital Eyewitness family from Kustom Signals.

Manual Transfer Options
Released in November 2007, the Shadow 800 from Decatur is a low-cost, modular system with a tamper-proof frame-counter. The Shadow 800 comes standard with a 30 GB hard disk and uses DVDs for file transfer of MP-4 .avi files that can be manually transferred to a server or another computer for use in court. To get additional information on the Shadow 800 click here.

The True View PLUS system from MPH Industries requires no additional back-end data management system although optional equipment is available. The system from MPH sports a secure, tamper-proof, trunk-mounted vault with a shock-mounted DVD recorder. Options include a covert back-seat infrared camera. For more information on the True View PLUS click here.

WatchGuard offers the DV-1 digital in-car video system, which records directly onto rewritable DVDs (with hard-drive redundancy) and comes in either the standard overhead version appropriate for most vehicles, or a two-piece modular version for vehicles that cannot accommodate overhead mounting. The DV-1 system records up to eight hours of video on a single, reusable DVD. For more information on the WatchGuard system, click here.

Digital Ally’s DVM system is integrated into a replacement rear view mirror with the video monitor located behind a “one-way” mirror. The Digital Ally system records directly to solid state memory in MPEG 4 format. Three different recording levels provide between 4 to 16 hours on a single 4GB compact flash card, and optional 8GB and 16GB compact flash cards are available for extended recording time. To learn more about Digital Ally’s offering click here.

The Digital Eyewitness from Kustom Signals records in MPEG1 within a trunk-mounted vault to protect against file damage. Kustom Signals’ ION solution offers MPEG1, MPEG2, or MPEG4 compression and can record to hard drives, DVD-RAM, or DVD+R. The original Digital Eyewitness and the ION both operate on manual file transfer. Of note, Kustom Signals also makes a product called the Road Warrior, designed specifically for motorcycles. To learn more about solutions from Kustom Signals, click here.

Meanwhile, some manufacturers are migrating from manual transfer to wireless technologies or offer wireless transfer as an option. Among them are the Coban TopCam II, the PatrolRecorder series from Safety Vision, the RoadRunner system from Apollo Video Technology, and the ICOP 20/20-W in-car video recorder system.

Wireless Transfer Options
The Coban TopCam II System is a standalone mobile digital video recorder that supports Mpeg 1, 2 and 4 formats and uses a removable hard disk (40 GB model can hold up to 100 hours of Mpeg-4; the 60 GB model can hold up to 200 hours of Mpeg-4) to store videos before they are uploaded to the server. TopCam II units can operate via an optional 802.11g network card which can be used for general communication, video streaming, and wireless video upload. To learn more about Coban video systems click here.

The PatrolRecorder series from Safety Vision includes the PatrolRecorder CF, which sports a removable compact flash drive for data retrieval; the PatrolRecorder RHD, which combines a mobile DVR with a removable hard drive for extended data storage; and the PatrolRecorder 4C, which that supports four cameras. All three solutions have integrated GPS and speed recording, providing vital information that can be transferred manually by removing the compact flash card or hard drive, or through an optional wireless capability. To learn more about the PatrolRecorder series click here.

The RoadRunner Digital Video Recorder system from Apollo Video Technology delivers video and audio recording with an optional GPS feature that provides video, location, and speed evidence to supplement report writing. The RoadRunner offers what Apollo calls the iSM™ (Interactive Speed and Mapping) interface, which provides street names and geographical data for route and stop information. RoadRunner sports standard wireless data transfer. To learn more about RoadRunner, click here.

The ICOP 20/20-W in-car video recorder system mounts in a standard (AM/FM) radio slot and touts a 40 GB vehicle-grade, removable hard drive in shock-resistant case, providing up to 16 hours of real-time, high-resolution recording. The ICOP 20/20-W has built-in GPS as well as radar, speedometer, and brake connection interfaces. The ICOP 20/20 offers both removable hard drive manual transfer as well as wireless (via 802.11g) or Ethernet wire upload to a server. For more information on the ICOP 20/20 click here.

Conclusion
All of the video solutions listed above, regardless of whether the video evidence is manually or wirelessly transferred, enable police officers to increase convictions and clear America’s streets of people who choose to violate the law.

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